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Digital skills, which cover a wide range of abilities as it relates to using digital devices, software, communication applications, networking systems, and IT infrastructure, are integral to companies and organizations that want to be competitive in today’s high-tech business landscape.
Yet over the past 18 to 24 months, we’ve seen a rapid acceleration in the demand for digital-first experiences – a demand that seems to outpace the supply of required skills.
There was already a fairly significant gap between available digital skills and needed digital skills before the pandemic. But the last couple of years have only driven the wedge deeper and wider.
On the one hand, the need for digital-first platforms and experiences has increased with COVID-19 and the related shutdowns. More businesses are going virtual, and entire industries have embraced remote communication and engagement like never before.
On the other hand, the stress and complications of the pandemic mean fewer people are being equipped and trained on the digital skills they need to add value to these companies.
It’s difficult to pinpoint any one underlying root cause of the expanding digital skills gap, but here are some of the driving forces at play:
When you start to understand what’s happening beneath the surface, it’s easier to see why the digital skills gap is so severe. You can also start to feel the urgency of the matter. With nearly 90 percent of organizations experiencing a shortage of digital skills in key departments, business leaders and executives are facing massive pressure to take much-needed steps forward.
In the European Union, nearly two-thirds of large organizations and a little more than half of small and medium-sized companies are finding it “challenging” to fill their IT roles with the right talent.
The digital skills gap conundrum could be summarized this way: Companies that want to compete in today’s rapidly advancing landscape are desperately seeking out workers with technical skills that the majority of the workforce doesn’t have.
One of the issues is that learning often stops at graduation, while technological innovation is occurring faster than it ever has. This means that within months of graduating from a program or obtaining a certification, new innovation and advances have already rendered much of the knowledge acquired obsolete. If an individual stops there and is unwilling or unable to continue investing in the development of their skills, they fall behind and become unqualified for the positions they’re needed to fill.
Businesses can no longer put the onus of training, education, and skill development on others outside of the organization – or even the workers themselves. If you want to remain competitive in today’s market, you have to take control and hire with a willingness to close your team’s digital skills gap internally. The question is, how do you do it?
At Readynez, we implement a proven best practice model to make digital skills work. It’s a skills-first model that includes five key decision points. When combined, they provide a path forward by aligning your business objectives and digital skills:
You kick off the process by clearly identifying your objectives so that you have precise targets to aim for. Ask yourself this simple question: How do we want to evolve our business with the new technology? When setting these objectives, be specific and attach measurable metrics to them. It should be clear whether you’re hitting or missing the mark. There is no room for ambiguity.
In some cases, it’s necessary to rethink or re-tool job roles. Now is the time to think about your existing job roles and how/if they’ll be affected. Likewise, what new job roles will be necessary in your organization in order to compete in the digital future?
What skills do your existing and new jobs require? (Be very specific here. Take the time to outline each individual skill so that you know what you need to hire and train for.) In addition to giving management clarity and direction in hiring/training, clearly outlining skills ensures individual people on your team understand the connection between their job role and the learning they’re consuming.
Map out a specific plan that prioritizes a skills-first approach and maximizes your return on both existing and new learning assets. (This is where Readynez is so valuable. We can work with you to identify and implement the right training solutions and products to help you achieve your objectives.)
The fifth and final step is to stay on top of governance. When you use Readynez, all roles are mapped in Readynez365 to track individual progress and provide management with a robust dashboard that measures real-time progress and ROI, and an overview of all Digital Skills, Exams, Certifications and Compliance in the organization.
The cost of inaction for today’s businesses is high. While you face a massive uphill battle in the face of a large-scale digital skills shortage, it’s good to know that options do exist. The gap can be closed, though it may be up to you to do it internally.
At Readynez, we make digital skills work. Close your digital skills gap with the industry’s top IT training courses, talent recruitment and development, and a world-class integrated approach that ensures your business remains competitive no matter what. Contact us today to learn more!
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