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A few weeks ago, we published an article outlining some of the hottest technologies which are going to be at the fore over the next 12 months. In this article, we reflected on just how much has changed and advanced within the digital world over the past few years. Given that tech is constantly innovating, evolving and adapting at pace to meet the needs and demands of the world we live in, it’s more important than ever that, as a business, you invest in your employees’ digital skills. Whether you’re providing opportunities for your staff to completely reskill, or giving those who are already in technical roles tools to expand their existing skillset, prioritising learning and development will help you to futureproof your business. Read on to find out why digital skills should be at the heart of your growth strategy for 2022.

Protecting your profits

A report conducted earlier this year by WorldSkills UK showed that 60% of businessses expected their reliance on digital skills to grow by 60% over the next five years. Even prior to COVID-19, there was a prevalent skills gap within the digital sector – and it’s safe to say that with schools, universities and workplaces impacted by the pandemic, this gap will continue to widen. In fact, another study from the Open University found that pre-pandemic, 88% of businesses reported digital skills shortages which were impacting productivity. This is a shocking statistic which reinforces the urgency to invest in your workforce. Simply put, if you don’t have the right people with the right skills, your output will be severely impacted – and so will your profits. Can you afford not to make the commitment to upskilling and reskilling your staff?

Boost the economy

There is no doubt that digital skills are going to support economic recovery and growth across the UK. This year, techUK found that if organisations start closing skills gaps on a local level, a whopping £145 billion could be added to our nation’s economic output – meanwhile, 2.7 million jobs could be created. A continued lack of digital skills could seriously harm economic growth, innovation and societal development.

Attract and retain the best talent

If you invest in learning and development – and shout about it from the rooftops – this will be a sure-fire way to attract (and more importantly, retain) best-in-class digital talent. Research by Glassdoor revealed that 34% of job-seekers want to know how they can grow and develop with the company they’re applying to work for. Techies in particular will be keen to know how they can stay ahead of the game, given that digital skills can quickly become outdated. For existing employees, remember that investment in staff generates loyalty. Not convinced? CareerAddict conducted a survey where they asked respondents to rate nine common factors which influence people’s decisions to leave a role – and ‘lack of career advancement’ came out on top. Whilst there will be an upfront cost to provide them with the right courses and training materials, you will ultimately save in recruitment costs in the long-term as they’ll be more likely to stay and grow with your business. Tech giants like Amazon and IBM are leading the way in terms of supporting the upskilling and reskilling of staff. Amazon has committed to providing cloud computing training to 25 million people around the world by 2025, whilst IBM has even offered to develop people who don’t work for the organisation. Think about what commitments you can make as a business to nurture and enhance skills from within your organisation. If you’re in a position to, also think about ways in which you can engage your local community in digital skills and tech careers – whether it’s attending carers fairs at colleges or universities, offering ‘taster sessions’ in certain technologies or even delivering your own courses. By doing this, not only will you be engaging with tomorrow’s digital talent, you’ll also get some fantastic marketing exposure for your brand.

Improve diversity and inclusion

Following on from the point above, investment in digital skills will help to narrow the prevalent gender divide in tech knowhow. Research from Haystack has shown that in general, men have a more lucrative tech stack than women. Aside from JavaScript and React, more males have experience in the top ten highest-paying digital skills in the UK right now. For example, only 6.04% of women have AWS experience compared to 15.23% of men, whilst there is a 6.13% difference in the number of women who are skilled in Python compared to their male counterparts. By doing your bit to address this imbalance, you will improve D&I not just in your business, but within the wider sector as well.

In summary

As technologies continue to advance, it’s vital that your business keeps up. Digital skills gaps will continue to widen if organisations ignore the importance of upskilling and reskilling staff – and before you know it, you will be losing out on profits (and staff), and trailing behind your competitors. If you’re looking ahead to 2022, it’s vital that you’re auditing skills within your company and identifying areas where you are missing key skillsets that will be needed to drive your business forward. However, here at Workforce Digital, we appreciate that the answer isn’t always so obvious. Our Client Relationship Manager and team of specialist recruiters can work with you to help you assess where you could benefit from additional digital resource to help you achieve your growth plans.

If you would like to discuss your skills needs in more detail, contact Chris Mealing, our Client Relationship Manager:Rob.Taylor@work-force.co.uk, or call us on 01204 393 000.