Examining the digital skills gap
Dec 15, 2021
The overarching aim of the research was to carry out a scoping study to examine the evidence associated with various aspects of the current digital skills landscape, focusing on the digital skills gap. We sought to better understand whether and why the digital skills gap is widening, as well as its implications for digital and social inequalities, and what various stakeholders are doing in response.
Current trends and future directions
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Rapid and widespread digitalisation has changed the nature of work, and digital skills are now regarded as essential for the modern workforce. Employees need digital skills to work with new technologies and to keep up to date with rapid technological advancements. While the demand for digital skills is high, supply is low. Workforces do not always have the skills needed to manage digital transformation, and businesses often struggle to find talent for digital roles. This digital skills 'gap' has become even more apparent during the COVID-19 pandemic. As digitalisation sped up to move many jobs online, the need for digital skills increased. The aim of the research was to carry out a scoping study to examine the evidence associated with various aspects of the current digital skills landscape, focusing on the digital skills gap. We sought to better understand whether and why the digital skills gap is widening, as well as its implications for digital and social inequalities, and what various stakeholders are doing in response. Our findings highlight the importance and urgency of addressing the digital skills gap, not least to ensure that industries and businesses keep pace with the rate and scale of technological innovation. Furthermore, we highlight that digital and social inequalities — exacerbated by the global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic — affect opportunities to develop digital skills, and closing the skills gap could prevent the growth of social inequalities between those who have digital skills versus those who do not.
This research was prepared for Salesforce and conducted by RAND Europe.
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