Monday, June 16, 2014

The Lack of Digital Skills – not just a Scottish Problem

A workforce skilled in online & digital tools & technologies is key to developing an organisation’s digital agenda. From the more specialist digital-specific & IT / IS / ICT roles, through to the generalists who may need up-skilling and re-training on average every 3 years… the hiring and development of skills necessary to take forward your online roadmap is not something to take lightly. In fact, the lack of digital skills could be one of the greatest factors in why your digital change strategy fails.

I've previously blogged about the lack of digital skills in Scotland and highlighted the lack of technical, marketing and associated skills (design, user experience, content, etc.) ‘North of the border’ where I live. But this skilled and empowered workforce isn't just missing in Scotland, or even across the UK. In a digital skills presentation today from ScotlandIS, the Scottish IT Trade body, I was actually shocked to hear the fact that there is a shortfall of 1 million digital jobs across the EU.

Scotland is therefore only a drop in the ocean compared to this, with only 10,000 people a year needed here to fill the gap.

So what is being done about it?

  • Are schools, higher education and further education producing the right courses and talent?
  • Are companies investing enough to drag seasoned employees (who may have previously resisted or ignored the use of digital)?
  • Are cities and even governments doing enough to encourage digital enterprise in specific areas that need it most?
  • Are boards hiring Chief Digital Officers to champion online excellence?

I fear not.
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