Stuart Gentle Publisher at Onrec

New Deloitte research finds digital skills gap still persists from classroom to boardroom

According to new research from Deloitte, business leaders’ confidence in the digital capabilities of new entrants to the workplace has improved in the last six months.

Eighteen per cent of digital leaders believe that school leavers and graduates are entering work with the right digital skills and experience, up from twelve per cent who said the same six months earlier.  Despite digital leaders’ perception of skills amongst new and current workers improving, more needs to be done to keep up with the pace of the adoption of new technologies within the workplace.

Steve Wainwright, MD EMEA at Skillsoft, spoke to Onrec and commented on why businesses need to upskill their employees to prepare for the changes of digital transformation. "To support digital transformation, organisations need new skillsets and capabilities – those in high demand, but short supply," he stated.  "Hiring new candidates with the skills required to be successful in digital transformation is not an effective strategy.  Instead, businesses need to upskill their current employees to prepare for these changes.  Businesses know the skills of tomorrow, but helping the employees of today achieve proficiency in them will be crucial to long-term success.  Helping employees gain skills that will make them productive in the workplace will also offer their organisation a competitive advantage.  It will prepare employees for the roles of tomorrow while driving transformation within the organisation."

Oliver Vernon-Harcourt, partner at Deloitte and author of this year’s Digital Disruption Index, commented: “Companies across the UK are investing significantly in digital technologies in order to transform their businesses.  The simple truth is that without ensuring that teams have the right experience, knowledge and abilities to make the most of these technologies, these investments will prove worthless.

“While it’s promising to see improvements in leaders’ confidence in their workers’ digital abilities, there is a lot more that still needs to be done and, if left unaddressed, the skills gap could grow to a level that’s hard to fill.  Failure to do more to educate both those in the workforce and those in the classroom will leave the UK trailing behind our global peers in the rapidly expanding digital economy.”

Deloitte’s research also found that digital leaders’ confidence in their own digital skills has improved.  Sixty per cent of executives are confident in their own digital skills and ability to lead in the digital economy, up from 45 per cent who said the same six months earlier.  The findings showed that those who were more confident in their own skills were more likely to take responsibility for learning additional digital skills including through reading non-traditional media and attending their organisation’s internal learning programmes.