The digital transformation is rushing by. We are becoming more reliant on digitalization. Hence it’s of the upmost importance that we fence ourselves against disruptions. In this digital economy we are facing several challenges, and one of the biggest challenges is the ever-growing IT skills gap.
Unfortunately, employers are reporting the highest global talent shortage since 2007. 40% of the interviewed employers report they have difficulty finding people with the right skills. IT personnel jumped from 9th to 2nd place on the global list of jobs most difficult to fill.
According to an IT industry Survey, the biggest challenge in filling the IT skills gap is the unqualified candidate pool. Furthermore a mismatch of skills needed and the ones possessed by candidates, a small pool of candidates, and budgetary constraints were also ranked on top of the list.
How to tackle this?
Nevertheless, there are factors to suggest that the IT skills gap is partly self-inflicted. Unrealistic job descriptions, a lack of standardization and a missing feedback loop play a role. Therefore, it is important for employers to look at what they can do to address the skills gap. Following from the Hays Global Skills index of 2016, possible methods to tackle the skills gap can be found in skilled migration, training programmes, and the use of technology to increase productivity and employee engagement.
In order to attract the needed talent, the labour market needs to appeal to the people with the right skills. The government could play a role in identifying which roles cannot be filled by local workers and open up the labour market to attract the qualified candidates, regardless of their origin. Besides this, cooperation between businesses and governments can help in creating policies that promote training and development of skills that are currently lacking in the workforce.
Firstly, the labour market needs to be appealing to people with the right skills. The government could play a role in identifying which roles cannot be filled by local workers. Next the labour market can be opened up to attract qualified candidates, regardless of their origin. Besides this, cooperation between businesses and governments can create policies promoting trainings and development of skills.
Smarter training programmes should include not only digital skills, but also softer skills that are often neglected in education programmes. Moreover these trainings need to be opened up to all ranks within companies, not just new candidates on the job market. Lastly the perks of technology are not limited to job candidates. Low productivity is an obstacle to economic growth globally. Engaging businesses and their employees with better technology can serve as a method to boost productivity.
The role of employers
The Talent Shortage Survey has shown a large increase in the number of employers trying to fill the talent gap by training their employees. From 1 in 5 employers to over half of the interviewed employers have started doing this. Now that employers have started to pursue strategies in addressing this issue, it is time for the government to also play their role.
For the sake of making our digital economy resilient, the IT gap needs to be closed. Without people with the rights skills, we are at risk of falling behind, or worse, we become vulnerable to disruptions. Digitalization, diversity and the right education are key in closing the IT skills gap and in turn making us resilient against the challenges of this digital age.