Over half of UK employees lack ‘essential’ digital skills – here’s how to bridge the gap

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  • Apparently having Microsoft Word and Excel proficiency on the CV just doesn't cut it anymore (big sigh), so this is what employers can do to help their workers upskill...

    It’s no secret that technology is rapidly changing the way most of us do our jobs, increasing the demand for all kinds of new digital skills.

    From engineers and architects adapting to digital design platforms, to copywriters familiarising themselves with the intricacies of search engines and social media marketing, the impact can be felt in jobs across the board.

    In fact, this growth in demand for workers with high-level digital skills is now so significant that it outweighs the actual supply of suitably qualified people –  and the gap is only getting wider. According to research from Hays Learning, employers are struggling to fill as many as a third of vacancies due to a lack of digital competency.

    This problem is particularly prominent in the UK, with 62% of employers admitting that they’re facing a severe shortage when it comes to their current workforce having the skills required.

    While the overall attitude towards digital literacy skills in the workplace is positive (78% of employers and 69% of staff are open to the idea of digital transformation), many businesses also feel ill-equipped and unprepared to deal with such change – due mainly to current staff lacking the requisite skills and budgetary restrictions.

    With lack of skills posing the biggest challenge to digital transformation, Hays Learning reckons this problem can be tackled through the use of training to help upskill employees. These are their top tips for how businesses can start bridging the gap…

    How employers can bridge the digital skills gap:

    Identify where the digital skills gaps are

    Knowing where the gaps are is the first step to closing them. Keep up to date with emerging technologies, especially those being adopted by competitors in your sector.

    Encourage self-directed learning

    Provide your employees with access to the learning tools they need to explore not just digital skills, but abilities around organisation and prioritisation, as well as soft skills too. Empower them to drive their learning journey and focus on their areas of interest.

    Retain top talent

    It’s essential to engage with existing talent, and not only focus on bringing in new entry-level talent. Give your current employees more opportunities to hone their digital skills.

    Encourage a ‘continuous learning’ culture

    A successful, fulfilling career path is one that focuses on learning and development, not as a once-off short-term goal, but as a continuous process. Considering technology changes and grows at such a rapid rate, it’s important to encourage your employees to embrace an ongoing learning process, to future-proof your business.

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