Decisions companies make today to solve the digital skills gap will echo for a generation

Decisions companies make today to solve the digital skills gap will echo for a generation

Written by Staff Writer


By Robin Fisher, Senior Area Vice President,Salesforce Emerging Markets


To succeed in today’s work-from-anywhere-in-the-world requires a digital-first mindset and approach. In this regard, the need for governments and businesses to prioritise, and re-skilling to prepare the workforce for the jobs of the future could not be more urgent.


As economies emerge from the pandemic, the world’s great digital awakening will not be equal. Across every country and region, if appropriate action isn’t taken we will see inequalities across gender, age, cities-rural opportunities, and companies exacerbated; creating an even more fragmented world.


Take, for instance, the widening of the digital gender divide during the pandemic. According to McKinsey, one in four women considered downshifting or even abandoning their careers due to increased domestic responsibilities; women account for 39% of the global workforce but suffered 54% of overall job losses during the crisis.


For organisations of all sizes, failure to prioritise reskilling employees will have negative impacts not only on product development, delivery and innovation, but also on customer experience and satisfaction. Taking into consideration costs associated with hiring external candidates for specialist roles, for example, in addition to recruitment fees, advertising, and higher salaries these employees will require, the potential for saving costs is great.


Rethinking the world of work

Our new digital world presents a major opportunity for companies to rethink what agile teams look like. Emerging technologies such as blockchain, AI and the Cloud, as well as the large-scale shift to remote working are amplifying business’ demand for digital and collaborative skills.


Closing the skills gap can come from investment in skill building and creating new learning initiatives. By building tailored training programmes based not on what they think workers should know but on what workers actually want, and need to know, companies can create a flexible working culture that empowers all employees to connect, learn and progress from anywhere.


The successful companies of the future will use technology to support rather than replace employees, providing retraining opportunities as well as redeployment to create more strategic roles. Ultimately, this will drive greater business agility and resilience, higher productivity among teams, and stronger standards of equity, diversity, and inclusion.


Providing digital opportunities to all

Beyond today’s workforce, the pandemic has presented us with a unique opportunity to rethink digital education. By working closely with governments and community stakeholders, businesses can ensure that training scales up to match digital demand and accelerates recovery and growth and provide digital opportunities to all.


This can be done, for instance, by promoting tech careers as a platform for fair progression, meaningful, lifelong learning and enjoyment. Executing far-reaching programmes can increase access to skills and tackle racial and gender inequality. Resetting recruitment to focus less on traditional education and more on skills can open up digital roles to a wider, more diverse talent pool and deliver a more positive socio-economic impact.


The decisions companies make now to solve the digital skills gap will echo for a generation. A commitment to bridging the widening digital skills gap is fundamental to our world’s future success and prosperity. And doing so in a manner that promotes equity and effectively leverages untapped talent within the workforce.



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