Img: Capgemini 
As the working world has become increasingly digitalised over recent years, the skills required for the successful operation of a business/office environment have also developed. This has led to a problematic phenomenon known as the ‘Digital Talent Gap’, whereby workplace technology has begun to progress quicker than some can acquire the necessary skills to use or even make sense of it. This in turn has led to a situation in which dedicated employees are being forced to invest their own time and money, outside of working hours, into acquiring the skill-set required for them to remain competitive in the workplace.

In an effort to better understand the reasoning behind - and ultimately begin to close - the aforementioned digital talent gap, global business consultancy firm Capgemini and professional networking service LinkedIn have joined forces to analyse the demand and supply of talent with specific digital skills and the availability of digital roles across multiple industries and countries, subsequently publishing their findings in a brand new report rather appropriately titled, ‘The Digital Talent Gap – Are Companies Doing Enough?

The report, in which Capgemini surveyed 753 employees and 501 executives at the director level or above at large companies with reported revenue of more than $500 million for FY 2016 and more than 1,000 employees, aims to delve into the concerns felt by employees regarding how they assess their own digital skills and their oft-negative perception of the training resources currently available to them in the office. The report states that nearly 50% of employees across seven industry sectors in the surveyed countries of France, Germany, India, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are investing their own money and additional time beyond office hours to develop digital skills, with this figure rising to around 60% among those the report describes as “digitally-talented employees”. This is indeed a worrying trend as it shows a clear dissatisfaction with the resources currently on offer as well as a deep-running concern among workers in relation to their own skills and talents, which is sure to lead to a general disillusionment and dissatisfaction with the company as whole if employers fail to address the issue.

The need to address this widening digital talent gap is clear, as more than half (54%) of organisations included in the survey agreed that the digital talent gap is hampering their digital transformation programs and that their organisation has lost competitive advantage because of a shortage of said digital talent. Despite this widespread knowledge that a lack of digital skills among workers is indeed an issue, 52% of organisations admitted that their budgets for training digital talent had remained flat or in some cases even decreased in recent times, while 50% said that although the digital talent gap is a frequent topic of conversation, little-to-no action is being taken to combat it; 45% of employees meanwhile went so far as to describe their organisation’s training programs as “useless and boring.”

This abrupt change in required workplace skills is beginning to perturb the working population, with 29% of employees expressing a concern that their skill-set will become redundant in the next one to two years, if it had not already done so. 38% expect this to happen in the next four to five years, with this figure rising to 47% among ‘Gen Y’ and ‘Gen Z’ employees.

The report also gave an insight into which industries are being worst affected by the digital talent gap, and it’s bad news for the automotive sector with 48% of employees under the firm belief that their skill-set will become redundant in four to five years. Following closely behind are: the banking sector at 44%; utilities at 42%; and telecom and insurance, which both sit at 39%.

If left unchecked, the attrition of upskilled staff will soon blight those companies deemed to be not doing enough, as evidenced by the 55% of digitally-talented employees who say they are willing to move to another organisation if they feel their digital skills are stagnating at their current employer.

While the issue is slightly more pronounced in relation to ‘soft’ digital skills as opposed to ‘hard’ digital skills (59% > 51%), both must be addressed if a business is to survive this mass integration of sophisticated technology and general digitalisation of the workplace. For those that fail to do so, their valued employees will soon begin to look elsewhere.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor as he continues to expand his horizons.
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