Expert Comment: UK spike in IT skills demand
Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA at Skillsoft:
“The digital skills gap has been growing exponentially for some years, but the pandemic and global lockdowns have forced many businesses to embrace and expand online opportunities to stay afloat. This digital acceleration has put pressure on businesses to deliver, manage and secure new platforms. But the wider ramifications of digitalisation projects are proving profound, representing a big problem for employees, who face being left out in the cold due to a lack of digital skills and proficiencies. More alarming still is the growing concern that people will become increasingly displaced by machines in the workplace.
The significant increase in IT job advertisements is not only a clear indicator that organisations are struggling to find talent – but that the available workforce is not equipped to meet the demand. Employers will have to address the growing digital skills gap within the workforce to ensure their business is able to fully leverage every digital transformation investment that’s made. With technologies like AI and cloud becoming as commonplace as word processing or email in the workplace, firms will need to ensure employees can use such tools and aren’t apprehensive about using them. This will mean instituting lifelong learning for employees – from day 1 – constantly reskilling and upskilling workers to ensure everyone has the opportunity to learn new skills.
Organisations will need to think holistically about managing reskilling, upskilling and job transitioning. In addition to opening up technical training and development to a wider candidate base – including supporting more female employees to development the skills required to fill identified gaps – assessing the digital transformation requirements of the enterprise should help to direct investment priorities for training and development. As the war for talent intensifies due to the post-pandemic circumstances, employee development and talent pooling will become increasingly vital to building a modern workforce that’s adaptable and flexible. Addressing and easing workplace role transitions will require new training models and approaches that include on-the-job training and opportunities that support and signpost workers to opportunities to upgrade their skills. Similarly, investing in digital talent platforms that foster fluidity, by matching workers and their skills with new work opportunities within the enterprise will be key.”