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Huge leaps in last 20 years; global workforce now far better digitally skilled, despite this, we are simply not prepared for what lies ahead

The next twenty years represent the greatest technological expansion and most powerful digital disruption we’ve ever seen but there are warnings that the workforce here in the U.K. and internationally does not have the skills required to meet the needs of the next two decades.

Technology trends like the application of Artificial Intelligence, the industrialization of cybercrime, and the widespread adoption of the Internet of Things are already having a radical impact on businesses and our everyday working lives.

It is estimated that even by 2020, 90% of all jobs will require digital skills, even in those economic sectors not traditionally associated with digitisation such as farming, healthcare, and construction. And experts believe that more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial today.

Although many sectors are adopting new technologies the pace of change is accelerating rapidly. By 2030 over 500 billion devices and objects will be connected and global IP traffic will be three times greater; digital transformation means that data is the most strategic asset.

It is vital, more than ever, to promote diversity in the tech field and provide unique learning opportunities to students of all backgrounds. In the Cisco Networking Academy today, 24 percent of students globally are female. In several developing regions including Latin America and Africa, female enrollment is well above the global enrollment average.

Cisco has been training and developing the world’s best IT professionals for twenty years through their largest corporate social responsibility program and has made $2.6 billion in in-kind contributions of tools, resources, and support to students, schools, and instructors worldwide. Its networking academy has helped 7.8 million people in 180 countries develop the skills needed to address this constant transition in technologies.

Unless businesses focus on providing a greater number of today’s workforce with enhanced digital skills, companies and individuals risk being displaced.