Aquent Aquent

What businesses can do to close the digital skills gap

by Liam McNally

What businesses can do to close the digital skills gap image
What businesses can do to close the digital skills gap

How many times have we heard that we're in a talent short market? I wouldn’t have a job if it wasn't hard to find exceptionally talented digital creatives, however I find myself wondering, what are businesses doing to shorten that skills gap?

Too often, the answer is nothing — either due to a lack of money or a lack of time. 

Our recent 2015 Talent Ignition Report highlighted the need for training and the lack of it perfectly:

  • 51% of employees surveyed said they have no access to a training budget, or it was too difficult to access
  • 51% of employees felt their skills had no long term broad appeal
  • 9% of employees surveyed left their last position due to lack of training

Yes, a level of responsibility is owed to the individual to ensure they're constantly learning, but when the skills shortage is so large why aren’t more organisations training and developing not just their employees, but also the wider talent pool?

CX and Front End Development are great examples of where this could be applied.

CX

CX is still in its infancy in Australia however clients are crying out for fantastic CX specialists but they are few and far between. Currently there are no courses for a great UXer to become a CX/UX Unicorn, there are nowhere near enough meetups, and the general attitude is that we need great talent now but we don’t have time to educate the market.

It’s now time to act and really bring the wider talent pool along and provide assistance to those within organisations the opportunity to learn and develop in these areas. 

Front End Development

Within Front End Development, new JavaScript frameworks seem to be popping up all the time, yet the training is not available for the great developer to up-skill in those areas.

Most job descriptions now ask for a minimum of AngularJS & NodeJS but there are so many great developers who have not been given the opportunity to develop those areas. 

So what can be done by the digital, creative, and marketing community as a whole?

I am lucky to work for Aquent who put a real emphasis on personal development by providing access to funds to build our own learning and development curriculum, as well as offering our talent the opportunity to up-skill using Aquent Gymnasium which provides free courses to close skills gaps.

There are also some great tools to use such as Open Universities Open2Study, which provides free courses to enable up-skilling and gain an understanding of a once before unknown skill. 

Here are three simple things that any business can do help in closing the skills gap and ensure talent are future ready.

  1. Provide opportunities and funding for employees to up-skill
    • It's important that the funding is accessible as employees tend to find it difficult to access, as noted in the Talent Ignition Report
    • Promote the use of the fund to employees and encourage them to use it by sharing different courses and events that might be of interest. One great tool is Open Universities Open2Study, which provides free courses to enable up-skilling and gain an understanding of a once before unknown skill
  2. Provide market education for large skills gaps
    • There are some great courses out there at the moment, but how about providing your own MOOC? Aquent Gymnasium is a great example of this, as we have recognised skill gaps and are working to bridge those gaps.
  3. Provide seminars and talks to help educate the market
    • Hearing thought leaders speak about their field is always inspirational. Aquent runs #digitalks lunches quarterly and the excellent feedback about the takeaways and implementation of them into organisations is amazing. Providing talks on topics specific to your organisation will allow those ideas permeate into your overall strategy.

What other advice do you have to businesses to help bridge digital skills gaps and encourage personal development?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Liam McNally

I got into recruitment after graduating, and haven't looked back since. I really enjoy the competitive nature of recruitment and the social aspect as you are speaking to new people everyday. I have a strong background in Contract and Temporary Recruitment in the UK, so have a great understanding of what makes a great contractor, the reasons for contracting and the reasons for freelance roles. Very excited about employing these skills within the Creative Space. A little bit about me: Favorite Sport: Athletics, have a 100m PB of 10.79seconds Favorite Musician: This changes constantly at the moment Sam Smith Favorite Food: Thai Favorite Movie: Shawshank Redemption

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