Unravel the Tech Skills Gap and Sidestep the Digital Skills Shortage

    The rapidly growing demand for tech skills is creating a widening skills gap that presents real risks to employers. However, companies can bridge this gap by investing in workforce development and leveraging software to find and develop talent with the right skills. 
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    Technology, the drive toward digital transformation and the promise of artificial intelligence (AI) is reshaping industries and the workforce.

    The demand for skilled tech professionals is soaring but organizations face a significant challenge: the growing divide between the tech skills they need and the skills their workforce has. 

    The tech skills gap threatens business growth and could stifle innovation and cut into company competitiveness. By 2030, the world could see a shortfall of 4.3 million tech workers, resulting in a shocking $449.7 billion in unrealized output.  

    So, what's driving this growing gap and what’s preventing workers from acquiring the skills that they need? How can employers close the tech skills divide and thrive in the next few years?

    Growing Demand in a Fast-Changing Tech Skills Landscape 

    The pace of technology-driven evolution is accelerating. Companies are embracing digital transformation, integrating cutting-edge technology across their operations to boost efficiency and grow. Nearly 89% of large companies globally are in the midst of digital transformation. This proliferation of digital initiatives is fueling the demand for a skilled tech workforce. 

    The rise of automation and AI-powered technologies, including generative AI (GenAI) is a major source of the growing skills gap. AI represents a whopping potential $15.7 trillion contribution to the global economy by 2030, so companies’ investment in the technology is soaring. With that comes additional demand for new tech roles. For example, “AI and machine learning specialist” is the fastest growing job in the world, according to the World Economic Forum. 

    The increasingly interdisciplinary nature of tech jobs is also increasing the need for skills beyond technical expertise. Tomorrow’s tech workers will need a complementary set of soft skills to succeed in changing work environments. In fact, recent research by Pearson predicts the top five individual skills employers will need by 2026 are all soft skills like collaboration, personal learning, and cultural and social intelligence. For more on skills critical to roles in tech explore the 2024 Technology Skills Report.

    Barriers to Closing the Skills Gap 

    Even as the demand for tech talent continues to skyrocket, the supply side of the equation is constrained. It will be increasingly difficult to find professionals with the right skill sets, and more businesses will struggle to find qualified talent for crucial roles. 

    Despite clear demand, several roadblocks are slowing the development of a robust tech workforce. These limiting factors include: 

    • Rapid technological advancement: The pace of change rapidly renders skills obsolete. This requires continuous upskilling and reskilling efforts for the workforce, even as many people say they lack time for training or are uncertain about where to focus. 
    • Reactive management and insufficient upskilling: Many organizations lack a proactive approach to workforce development. Poor training programs that aren’t forward-looking leave employees with unneeded skills. 
    • Digital and social inequalities: Unequal access to technology and quality education creates barriers to digital skills development. This lack of opportunity shrinks the pool of potential talent. 
    • Disconnect between education and industry: Traditional education systems might not fully align with the current needs of the tech industry. Unaligned curriculums can leave graduates with few job prospects and outdated skill sets. 
    • Globalized competition for talent: The global nature of the tech industry intensifies the competition for skilled workers. This can further exacerbate the skills gap in certain regions or for certain roles. 

    Overcoming Challenges to Future-proof the Tech Workforce 

    Despite these headwinds, closing tech skills gaps in an organization is possible. Here are some ways strategic, forward-looking employers are taking action. 

    1. Developing skills frameworks: Defining the essential tech skills needed and establishing a common language to describe them creates a clear roadmap to fill gaps through talent acquisition and development. 
    2. Embracing skill-based hiring: Shifting the focus from résumés and past experiences to verified skills demonstrated through assessments and certifications, and securely recorded with digital credentials, objectively identifies people with the right digital skills. 
    3. Investing in upskilling and reskilling: Comprehensive training programs can produce a significant return on investment and provide multiple organizational benefits in addition to filling skill gaps.  
    4. Redistributing labor and skills: Strategically reassigning existing employees with transferable technical skills can bridge internal skill gaps and create new opportunities for employees within the organization. 
    5. Driving digital inclusion initiatives: Partnering with educational institutions and community organizations can form pathways for underrepresented groups to develop digital skills and launch or strengthen their careers. 
    6. Promoting a lifelong learning culture: Encouraging a culture of continuous learning with educational opportunities keeps employee skills up to date as technology evolves.

    Building a Tech-Savvy Workforce with Powerful Tools 

    This future-proof workforce will be powered by technology. To accelerate development of a proficient tech workforce, many organizations are embracing innovative workforce technologies like:  

    • AI-driven talent management solutions that streamline recruitment efforts. Platforms such as TalentLens provide insights about top performers and candidates in the hiring pool, helping identify tech talent and match them to the best job opportunities. 
    • Digital credential platforms, such as industry leader Credly, can provide proof of technology skills and soft skills. These platforms also enhance upskilling and reskilling programs by increasing employee engagement. 
    • Strategic workforce planning tools that anticipate future skill needs to enable the development of the future talent pool. Powerful AI solutions like Faethm help organizations better understand their people and industry trends to provide clear direction for workforce initiatives and company growth. 

    Learn more about building an agile, adaptable workforce that can lead the way in the evolving digital landscape. See how our workforce solutions can work for you.

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