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These days, digital skills are required for all levels of jobs. In 2019 alone, 82% of job descriptions in the UK included at least one digital skill as a requirement.
In the modern workplace, digital skills are part of the core abilities your workers need in order to effectively do their jobs. While younger generations of workers might have a leg up when it comes to certain digital skills, like adapting to a new video conferencing platform, there’s a significant skills gap when it comes to newer technologies, like artificial intelligence (AI) and cybersecurity.
All workers, including digital natives like Gen Z, can benefit from digital upskilling. It’s up to Learning and development teams to create learning opportunities for workers to level up their digital skill sets in the flow of their work—and it all starts by understanding your organisation’s goals.
In this article, we’ll explain the digital skills gap and why it’s widening in a post-pandemic climate. Then, we’ll break down the most in-demand digital skills for workers, whether they need to learn basic tech competencies or upskill to more advanced tasks.
The widening space between the demand for digital literacy and workers’ capabilities is called the digital skills gap.
In the UK, there’s a major divide between the skills sought by employers and the skillset of most workers. According to the Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index in 2020, as many as 52% of the workforce in the UK lack digital skills.
This doesn’t just mean workers lack highly specialised skills, like coding or quantum computing. It means that a majority of workers aren’t able to properly use a computer or type efficiently. In a recent study, roughly one in five adult respondents in the UK were unsure how to use the internet. This is especially concerning when you consider the rise in cyber attacks has increased by 81% since 2020.
So, what exactly is causing this gap in digital literacy? There’s no denying the effects of the pandemic, which provided a crash course in digital learning for many workers.
Remote work became the norm, and workers had to learn tools like Zoom virtually overnight. Anyone familiar with these tools had an automatic leg up. But those who were new to digital technologies had a steep learning curve with very little support.
Another factor that leads to a widening skills gap falls on the education system for younger generations. A recent report from Intel found that Gen Z students are graduating with a surprising lack of understanding when it comes to technology like AI and cybersecurity. This means workplaces can’t assume a general knowledge of digital skills for their workers based on age alone.
So, what can your organisation do to close its digital skills gap? Here are four recommendations:
Looking for more tips on how to conduct a training needs analysis? Download our free template to ensure you cover off all the key steps involved.
In an increasingly tech-focused world, it’s worth ensuring that everyone has a fundamental understanding of how to use digital tools, send an email, and navigate the web safely.
It’s an essential level of skills that all workers, regardless of industry or job level, need to have. This not only makes your workers more competitive, but it also protects your business from mis-hires and keeps your digital infrastructure secure.
Here are five essential digital skills your workforce needs:
For workers who have the basics nailed down, there are plenty of upskilling opportunities to level up to more advanced digital skills.
By 2025, an estimated 85 million jobs will be displaced globally due to automation. It’s projected that 97 million new jobs will be created, but workers need support in order to learn how to do those jobs properly.
L&D teams that take the time to upskill their workforce now will be at an advantage. As tech inevitably evolves, those workers will be the ones who can best keep up.
These five more advanced digital skills focus on automations, like AI, as well as data sciences:
This is a kind of data analysis that focuses on transforming data into eye-catching visuals to catch the attention of viewers.
Digital upskilling has tremendous benefits not only for employees but also for organisations to improve employee satisfaction and retain their top talent.
A continuous learning culture can encourage workers to declare their learning needs, work collaboratively to design training materials, and share their knowledge in order to upskill in the flow of their work.
Interested to learn how you can support your workers through a continuous learning culture? Get in touch with one of our learning experts to find out more.