How Can UK Businesses Overcome the Digital Skills Gap?

Posted on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 by Caroline GleesonNo comments

As technology continues to develop, maintaining the right digital skills in workforces is becoming a larger problem for businesses. 

Ensuring you’ve got the right people in your teams to manage these developments is crucial for business success. Yet, data shows that 20% of the UK workforce will be severely under-skilled for their roles by 2030 – resulting in almost 6.5 million Brits being unprepared for their roles.

Caroline Gleeson, CEO at Occupop, says: “The digital skills gap is a real threat that is affecting many businesses now and will continue to do so unless it is addressed. You’ll want to be secure in the knowledge that you have the right people that can help your business expand and grow in the future – and managing technological demands is something every business has to be prepared for.”

But why is the digital skills gap growing, and how can businesses combat it?

Why the skill gap is growing

The digital skills gap is growing for many reasons, but some include technological advancements and global connectivity. As more businesses expand their technology stack and develop more efficient means of working, the demand to keep up is higher. Ensuring that you’re gaining and maintaining a competitive advantage means staying up-to-date with the latest technological developments within your industry.

As technology grows, the number of employees with the right knowledge to manage, support, and develop these technologies lessens. Without the right training and education, your workplace can easily fall behind the digital curve, causing difficulties for your staff when it comes to using new and developed systems. This can also be a generational difficulty as older workforces might not have encountered the range and depth of technology a newer workforce might have.

How to close the digital skill gap in your business

Advance your technology

It might seem counterintuitive to start developing your technology further in your business if you don’t have the right people on your team to manage the required digital skills. However, by considering this now you can do more for your business in the long run.

Developing your technology can offer wider training opportunities for your workforce and encourage the right people to apply for your job roles. Young workforces with the right digital abilities won’t want to join a company with legacy systems that slow them down. To attract the right candidates, you’ll need to be able to offer them a space where their skills can flourish.

Improving your technology in areas such as Human Resources can also ensure that you’re bringing in the right talent into your business. If you lack digital skills within your workforce, finding someone to fill this gap and provide the right support for your business is essential. Using applicant tracking software, you can ensure that you’re finding people who will fit seamlessly into your business with the right training and experience to hit the ground running.

Improve training

Another way to reduce your digital skill gap is by improving training opportunities. This can be for every member of your workforce, not just localised to the few who might be using certain systems daily. Widening your company’s overall digital ability can help ensure that systems and processes are followed seamlessly without disruption.

This can either be undertaken by an employee with a good understanding of the technology and how to use it specifically for your business or by an external trainer who might be able to better explain every ability of your technology. By letting your workforce explore as much of the new technology as possible, not simply the processes they need, you might even find new approaches and uses for the same technology.

Mentorships can be another great way to lessen the digital skills gap. Instead of just focusing on your employees, you can hire mentees to help train the future generations – they might even come back to show you a thing or two about technology.

Feedback mechanisms

Implementing AI and automated systems for feedback can be another great way to encourage better digital development in your teams. By implementing software that can better analyse employee success and give real-time updates on their training and progress, you can ensure that staff members needing further support are getting it.

The feedback can also be an encouraging element to your day-to-day business. This way, you can ensure that staff developing their digital skills get the recognition they deserve and continue thriving in your business. While closing the digital skills gap is vital to business success, focusing on staff retention is as vital to keeping your employees.

The digital skills gap is a real threat for many businesses struggling to keep up with the pace of technological advancements. But by focusing some time and effort on training your workforce and even investing in new technologies, you can ensure your business doesn’t fall behind competitors.

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