Digital skills essential for future-proofing career

Reports from the UK Government suggests that digital abilities are fast becoming the basic skill set of any employee in any sector.

In early 2015, the House of Lords’ Digital Skills Committee published a report stating that digital skills should be turned into a core subject at the same level as numeracy and literacy. Another report on the digital future of the UK underlined how “the digital revolution is changing the labour market fundamentally”.

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As technology becomes an increasingly integral part of everyday life, its role within the job market grows ever more important. But just how significant are digital skills for people entering the job market, and how essential will they be in the future?

Digital skills are becoming essential to all industries

According to Cornell University, digital literacy is the “ability to find, evaluate, utilise, share, and create content using information technologies and the Internet’. This means that the ability to complete simple tasks on a computer is just as much a part of digital literacy as high-spec skills.

Because digital literacy encompasses so many benefits – such as boosting productivity through speeding up administrative tasks – it will become more essential for any profession across all industries. The European Commission suggested that in the near future 90% of jobs might require basic digital skills in careers such as engineering, accountancy, nursing, medicine, art, architecture, and many more.

Digital literacy has even become absolutely essential in medical professions. The accounting firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimate that making better use of technologies might save up to £4.4 billion per year in the health sector.

Jobs in the digital market are on the rise

The UK digital market has boomed in the last few years, with 15% of UK companies formed in 2013-2014 operating in the digital market. Bearing this in mind, it should be no surprise that IT skills are the most requested by job advertisers.

In the future, recruiters will require not just a constant stream of digital natives, they will need candidates with advanced digital knowledge.

In their 2015 State of the CIO report, IDG Enterprise said that the war for IT talent was making the CIO role more difficult. Big data, security and application were the top three skillsets listed as “difficult to find”. Due to the growing importance of IT talent, SAP recruitment specialists Eursap have said that the SAP job market is becoming saturated and seeing competition increasing. They feature some of the most sought-after skills in their perfect SAP CV guide.

Other popular candidate requirements include coding and development skills. The job search platform Indeed has listed skills in HTML5, MongoDB, iOS, Android and Mobile App as the fastest growing job ads.

Digital literacy in the UK

Go ON UK, a UK-based charity that promotes digital skills, has warned that over 12 million people lack the knowledge to prosper in the digital era. Their digital exclusion map shows that in Wales one third of the population is falling behind in digital literacy. At the same time, 20% of people living in London, home to “Tech City”, are not tech-literate.

The Science Council have estimated that the number of people working in the information and communications technology sector will rise by 39% by 2030. Needless to say, it will become ever-more imperative to keep up with digital natives in a growing IT-focused job market.

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