The rapid rise of digital technologies over the past fifteen years has transformed the way in which we live, learn, work, communicate and interact with each other. With over 3.9 billion Internet users and 3.2 billion smartphones worldwide in 2018, digital technologies have become an essential part of our everyday lives. From instant messaging apps, social media, websites to project management tools and internet banking, we use digital technologies to make our lives more connected, efficient, comfortable and ultimately smarter.
Our future is digital, and we need to learn how to use it to our advantage. This is especially true in the context of business. The speed with which digital technologies have overtaken the business world is simply unprecedented. Compared to ten years ago, it is now almost impossible to find a business without some digital footprint taking advantage of increased customer reach, data and insights.
Despite their many advantages, digital technologies present at least two increasingly pressing demands on business. First, they have fuelled the ever-increasing levels of expectations from customers be it faster response rates, increased service efficiency or instant and secure payments from anywhere in the world. Second, they have created a strong imperative to hire people with the right skills who are able to work with and develop alongside these fast-growing ever-advancing digital technologies. If businesses are unable to meet either of these two demands, their ability to compete and generate profits in this digital age is seriously compromised.
Finding people with the right digital skills is not easy. In fact, the digital skills gap presents one of the biggest threats to UK business, as stated in the Skills Shortage Bulletin, 2018 (Source below).
But before I turn to discuss what you can do about this, let’s have a closer look at what the ‘digital skills gap’ is and how it can affect your business.
In a broad context, the term ‘digital’ refers to the digital technologies that is anything accessed or downloaded via the internet onto electronic devices such as smart devices, phones, tablets, laptops, TVs or desktop computers. Within a business context, ‘digital’ means the technology a business deploys and uses for productivity and profit-making. Examples of this technology include communication software such as Skype, social media platforms like Facebook and data platforms such as Google Analytics. These ‘digital technologies’ allow a business to function. But here’s the problem: there are not enough skilled people for businesses to hire to operate these technologies, as mentioned in the Digital Skills Report.
As such, skilled digital technology workers are in high demand.
At Full Focus Recruitment, our approach to digital skills is to find people who can identify, select and operate one or multiple digital technologies to achieve a required outcome and better inform business decision-making on the path toward sustainable digital growth. Hiring people with such skills allows for the following:
- Being able to operate relevant digital technology for work productivity.
- Setting up digital technologies on different operating systems, and where required, installing its software.
- Using relevant digital technology to research and conduct analysis.
- Having an understanding of relevant digital technology trends and confidence in operating relevant digital technology.
- Able to focus on understanding the required inputs into the technology and how to interpret the outputs (data).
- Being able to adapt and find solutions to digital technological limitations.
- Able to start and complete tasks on a range of different, yet relevant digital technologies.
- Ability to report on outputs (data) provided to help inform further actions or decision-making.
Digital technology development moves at a rapid rate and keeping up to date with digital technologies represents a huge challenge to businesses leaders like yourself. You need people with the relevant up to date ‘digital skills’ to operate these technologies successfully in order to ensure productivity and profitability for your business.
As a recent UK Government white-paper states: “The contribution of digital skills to the performance of the economy is substantial. The ‘tech sector’ alone represents 6% of the UK economy with an estimated GVA [Gross Value Added] per person in the region of £91,800, well above the UK average. Given a large number of opportunities that are likely to be available, strong investment in digital skills would likely bring about a very good return on investment to the UK economy.”
By investing in digital skills, you will be able to take a slice of that return. You need to continue to hire, harness and develop these digital skills to ensure sustainability and survival for the future. But you don’t have to do this alone. It is our firm view that recruitment companies need to take more responsibility with regard to digital skills and work towards building more meaningful relationships with you – their clients – and have a vested interest in your business performance.
We at Full Focus take more responsibility and commit ourselves to the success of your business by sourcing the best possible talent for you and going beyond what any other recruiter would do: we provide you and your new employee with digital skills training and development materials well into the placement. We do this because we want you to keep people with the relevant ‘digital skills’ who could successfully operate modern digital technologies. We want you to succeed and by working together we want to become your trusted and respected digital recruitment partner. We are here to help you increase your relevancy and impact in today’s digital world. Together, we will bridge the ‘digital skills gap’ with expert talent acquisition and development.