Machine learning, blockchain, the metaverse – just trying to keep up with new technology and the pace of digital change can be exhausting, let alone prepare your organization for the future with the right talent to harness it. But no one wants to be a dinosaur among unicorns: preparation for the technologies of today and tomorrow is vital to the longevity and success of any organization, whether in retail or financial services.
The Salesforce Global Digital Skills Index sought to understand exactly how skilled and prepared employees in organizations around the world feel in today’s complex digital world. Surveyed 23,000 workers in 19 countries to determine their level of digital skills readiness: an assessment conducted by asking respondents how prepared they feel for the future, how they would rate their digital skills levels, whether they have access to the right resources to develop skills. and whether they are actively learning or improving.
Across all countries, the index found a global digital readiness score of just 33%, with some countries performing better than others. While India came out on top with a score of 63%, the UK’s digital readiness score was just 21%, with just 30% of respondents feeling very prepared with digital skills in the workplace. now, and only 20% feeling very ready for the skills. they will need in five years. Although reports of a skills gap in the UK are widespread, this incredibly low figure may come as a surprise. It indicates a huge gap between what organizations need to stay ahead of, or even in step with, the curve and the reality of where they are now.
Peter Schwartz, SVP of Strategic Planning and future CEO of Salesforce, explains: “There is a gap between the frontier of innovation and the skills needed to use those innovations. That in itself is not new. But what is new is the scope of that innovation, how widespread it is and how it has spread into all aspects of life. It’s hard to do almost anything these days without some form of digital interaction.”
Digital readiness is not just about organizations staying competitive in their respective industries, closing the skills gap is vital for advancements in our society and for the economy, and PwC estimates that addressing the gap could increase the UK’s GDP. United at £87bn by 2030.
Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK, says: “There is an urgent need to act to solve the digital skills crisis. The Salesforce Digital Skills Index shows how unprepared our global society and economy are in the face of this crisis and emphasizes the need for collaboration if we are to re-skill employees and prepare future generations for the jobs of tomorrow.”
One of the standout findings from the survey is the gap between employer and employee confidence in digital readiness. While globally a relatively high level (61%) of board-level workers feel highly prepared with the necessary digital skills, only 33% of individual taxpayers feel the same way.
And while 54% of board-level workers are actively training, only 38% of middle managers and 19% of individual contributors are doing the same. It seems that the resources available to those in higher positions are not accessible to all and that, for many organizations, there is a long way to go to promote and encourage training, especially in the younger ranks.
Once you dig into the details, there is also a clear gap between the importance of specific digital skills and the current skill level of workers. The index ranked skill importance from one to five (with five being most important) and skill level rating from one to three (one being beginner and three being advanced). In general, almost all skills are considered to be of great importance, however, the majority of respondents reported beginner-level skills.
A key challenge here is securing and developing some of the most advanced and in-demand skills. For example, while encryption and cybersecurity were unsurprisingly high on the importance ranking, it was one of the lowest skill level scores. Organizations must ensure that they are making significant efforts to attract and retain the right talent in these areas. Comparatively, some of the skills we’ve all had to get used to over the past few years, such as collaboration technology, showed relatively high levels of confidence in the skills.
Upskilling is a vital component of talent retention, attraction and job satisfaction. With a ‘big resignation’ or a ‘big reorganization’ underway, it’s becoming clear that it’s not just money that lures talent away from their employers – career development opportunities matter a lot. As the index indicates, the majority of respondents are looking to develop within their current company or career, presenting a huge opportunity for organizations to enhance the talent they already have.
De Rojas explains: “The Index clearly reveals that the majority of its respondents are willing and ready to learn new digital skills. It is crucial that companies now work in collaboration with governments and the rest of the industry to close the digital skills gap and ensure that people are efficiently trained and retrained to meet their personal and professional growth and support a increasingly digitized economy.
Of course, it’s not just job-specific digital skills that are important and need to be fostered in the workforce. Technology is part of a large part of our daily lives, including our everyday jobs. Being able to navigate apps on your phone or understand the nuances of social media comes with the territory of being a member of society in the 21st century. Very few respondents rated their everyday tech skills as advanced, and even the supposedly tech-savvy Generation Z felt wary.
So how can organizations boost learning? Many organizations have seen great success with digital learning in recent years, with a McKinsey survey finding it the most popular and successful skills development strategy for companies in 2020. And while much of the acceptance of digital learning Digital will have been due to the pandemic and remote work, now that it is tried and tested and remote work practices seem to continue, it is an attractive option for many organizations going forward.
Salesforce’s free online learning platform Trailhead, for example, has helped more than 3.9 million people learn skills for the future of work. The platform is part of Salesforce’s commitment to providing opportunities for people of all backgrounds to learn digital skills and establish themselves in the tech industry.
As Zahra Bahrololoumi, UKI CEO, Salesforce explains: “Reskilling is clearly a national priority and we all have a responsibility to help people navigate learning and equip them to seize the opportunities of a digital-first future. By using our scale, ecosystem and resources as a platform for change, we are able to provide alternative pathways to training, often free and online, to ensure our increasingly connected world represents success across society.”
It’s clear that with the right tools, a commitment to learning, and a healthy dose of urgency, organizations can be on the path to embracing, rather than fearing, the technological advances of the future.
Explore the full results of the Global Digital Skills Index. To learn how Salesforce powers tomorrow’s workforce, visit trailhead.salesforce.com.
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