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Digital Skills Gap

Frequent interruptions, pressure to be always-on and accessible because of mobile devices, rapidly changing technology, the threat of jobs being lost to automation, a shorter shelf-life for skills—for many employees, work today is more about scrambling to keep pace than it is about strategically working toward individual and organizational goals.

Keeping up could soon become even more difficult—a recent CapGemini/LinkedIn survey reveals that while more than half of organizations acknowledge a widening digital skills gap, and even more agree that the skills shortage is hampering digital transformation efforts, many still have no formal plan in place to bridge the gap.

As we’ve noted in previous posts, corporate learning and development (L&D) has been slow to keep up with digital transformation and technology advances. And although reinventing careers and learning was the second most important topic for business leaders in 2017, L&D’s transformation is still in its early stages.

For the CapGemini/LinkedIn survey, researchers sought out employee opinions about the widening digital skills gap and how their organizations are addressing it. Nearly a third of employees believe their skill set is redundant or will be within one to two years. More than half say their company’s training programs are not helpful—many describe them as “useless and boring”—or that employees are not provided the time to attend training.

Where does that leave employees? In a difficult position, for the most part, and even more anxious and overworked.

The CapGemini/LinkedIn survey shows that employees are increasingly taking it upon themselves to ensure they stay competitive—60 percent of those surveyed are investing their own money and time outside of work hours to build their digital skills.

That kind of initiative, while admirable, cannot serve as the only solution.

Individually, employees might not be able to bring about specific changes within their organizations, but together they can transform their anxiety into influence.

  1. Employees should determine what they need today and in the near future to be more productive and innovative. They should find out which L&D resources their organizations provide and utilize them to achieve their goals.
  2. When their organizations solicit feedback, employees should always take time to provide it—what works, what doesn’t, and which approaches they’d like to see implemented.

Employees should keep in mind that closing the digital skills gap is a shared responsibility—organizations, employees, educators, legislators, and others must work together. However, employees should never discount how much power they have as “customers.” Their voices are stronger than ever—individually and collectively. When they use their voices to transform anxiety into opportunity, they may be surprised at how influential they are.

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