Managers and business leaders have different opinions about the talent they should hire to do the job – and that’s making the skills gap even worse.
A UK survey of 5,000 knowledge workers, 750 recruitment managers and 400 senior decision-makers by consultancy AND Digital found that people at different seniority levels within companies have ideas “substantially different” on the skills most needed.
This poses significant challenges when it comes to closing talent gaps and a mismatch “between what hiring managers know to be right and what their organizations choose to invest in.”
The survey found that 22% of companies say a lack of digital skills has had a negative impact on business growth by making it harder to achieve goals, or due to the loss of key customers and customers. business opportunities.
AND Digital estimates that some £240 billion ($272 billion) stands to be lost each year if companies cannot acquire the skills they need to drive the business forward.
“UK organizations are still failing to develop their employees sufficiently, and this has a direct impact on businesses and wider economic growth,” said AND Digital founder Paramhit Uppal.
“It’s because we haven’t come to a common understanding of what the skills gap is or what digital skills mean.”
Digital skills remain of paramount importance to organizations at a time when companies are investing heavily in cloud systems and digital services.
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But even then, leaders disagree about who they should hire: for example, 60% of presidents think their company has enough people with software engineering skills, compared to just 42% of senior executives. . Similarly, half of CEOs believe they have enough people with data analytics skills on their payroll, compared to 44% of managers.
CEOs are less likely to see technology as a key business driver overall, the study found. Almost half (47%) of presidents consider it important to put digital at the heart of the business, compared to 60% of middle managers, while 53% of presidents believe that being “innovative and responsible” is important, compared to 63% of middle managers. managers.
These disagreements also extend to ‘soft skills’ and characteristics: 60% of CEOs agree that it’s important for employees and new hires to have problem-solving skills, compared to almost three-quarters (74%) middle managers. And only 57% of general managers think that the continuous development of their own skills is important, compared to 76% of middle managers.
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“There is currently not enough alignment on the importance of digital skills nor a shared diagnosis on how well organizations are equipped with the right skills. Until this is the case, organizations will not reach the consensus and commitment to invest effectively to close their own loopholes,” the report says.
AND Digital found that the digital skills gap is felt by a majority of UK professionals, with 58% saying they have never received digital training from their employers and 29% reporting salary, promotions and career progression limits.
Unsurprisingly, this leaves employees feeling demotivated and disenfranchised: 11% of employees considered quitting after missing out on development opportunities, while 8% quit outright and 11% were pressured to change jobs. career.
If companies can’t align on where to direct their hiring and development investments, companies will face a “deep productivity gap”, the report warns.
It’s not all about technology
Cloud, user interface (UI) and machine learning skills are among those that have grown the most in importance over the past year, with AND Digital citing ReactJS, Microsoft Azure and PyTorch in its report.
And yet, non-technical employees worry that their employers only see value in upskilling dedicated technology roles, with 52% of respondents saying their organization sees digital upskilling as a worthwhile investment exclusively for “obvious tech-focused roles.” “.
The report noted that “hard” technical skills “are only part of the answer” and warned that companies “must not overlook the importance of people skills, such as communicating with empathy and developing self and others”.
The report adds: “It is clear to us that to close the digital skills gap, we must first recognize that it is made up of a multiplicity of gaps, and then come to a common understanding of them. Only then can we take coherent and reinforcing collective action – even as we all work individually at different levels to address different aspects of the challenge.”