Over the past two decades, our world has been blessed with an abundance of new digital technologies. It comes as no surprise that many of these have helped to shape society into what it is today. While all industries have been forced to adapt to this new world, none have been more dramatically affected than the job market.
For those charged with preparing graduates for a bright and prosperous future, it's essential to understand the role digital plays in the current - and future - job market. In this blog, we explore the impact it is having on professionals, corporations and the job market.
Learn from Tech Companies
Take a moment to closely examine today’s biggest corporations and you will see the close correlation between successful companies and the extent to which they have embraced digital skills.
As an innovator, Apple has continued to grow in spite of formidable competition. Near the end of 2016, the company hit a growth spurt and sold around 78 million smartphones. This equates to a 5% growth over the previous year.
At the same time, IBM has used digital to transform itself from a provider of machines to an innovative service organization and is leading the charge in innovative technologies such as IoT and cognitive computing with no sign of slowing down.
Businesses that have managed to excel seek out employees with skills that match the needs of their business and in today's world, those skills are digital.
Companies in the U.K. are placing a greater emphasis on finding employees with digital know-how with nearly a quarter admitting it was their top priority - Deloitte
Take AT&T as an example of a business that is embracing digital and investing significantly in enabling its employees to do the same.
Upskill or become obsolete...
As one of the largest telecoms in the world, AT&T recognized the digital skills shortage in its business and decided to establish initiatives to overhaul its talent base to move the business from cables and hardware to the internet and cloud.
With an eye on AT&T making the transition to a full-fledged computer company by 2020, their CEO, Randall Stephenson is unflinching in his belief in upskilling and believes those who do not receive at least 5 to 10 hours of online learning each week will soon become obsolete due to a lack of tech know-how.
“There is a need to retool yourself, and you should not expect to stop” - Randall Stephenson, CEO & Chairman of AT&T
AT&T's investment in developing skills is not new or unusual, it's happening across sectors and industries. The company's investment in upskilling employees demonstrates how crucial these type of skills are to businesses across the world.
Today's professionals require educators to provide students with the skills that are in high demand in the current job market. It should be obvious by now that digital know-how and skills are no longer optional – they are a necessity of working life.
For educators, this presents huge opportunities to tap into a new and burgeoning market that will help:
It should come as no surprise that students want to master skills that will enhance their employability. So it's important to ensure that your institution can provide them with such skills. Universities, colleges and training providers that fail to offer digital classes will be shunned by millennials.
Don’t forget that this group is the first generation to grow up with the internet they are well aware that digital is the future. In fact, millennials are expected to make up approximately 75% of the workforce by the year 2030.
By offering the digital courses that are preferred, an educator will make itself far more attractive and in turn boost enrollment numbers as modern corporations continue to report great difficulty in gaining access to skilled digital workers.
Foster Corporate Relationships
A study conducted by the Association of Graduate Recruiters concluded that 87% of employers were unable to find graduate applicants that were suitable for open positions due to a lack of relevant digital skills. By developing worthwhile digital courses, it is possible to develop relationships with corporations that need access to a highly skilled digital workforce.
A strong relationship with the successful corporations could ultimately lead to better funding, more opportunities and potential internships in the future.
As an example, Barclays launched an initiative to make themselves the most tech-savvy workforce in the U.K. To upgrade their employees with digital skills, the company devised the Digital Driving License program an in-house training program, established in association with City & Guilds Kineo (an e-learning division of the global educator who feeds the latest digital. This allowed the company to upskill their workers while enabling them to earn a valuable certification to bring them up to a certain level of learning and validate their skills.
This collaboration with an educational institution helped drive employee engagement with the program and enabled them to upskill more than 10,000 staff. It also helped establish Barclays as a digitally-savvy company with their employee's learning and development at their core.
Contribute to Graduate Success
At the end of the day, educators should understand how fulfilling it is to help someone succeed in life. When students excel, your institution benefits as well. This is why it is crucial to encourage students to seek continuous betterment in the digital realm. Students that gain vital digital skills will always be able to leverage their knowledge and obtain higher wages than their unskilled competitors.
While many consumers associate digital skills with major tech companies like Apple and Google, these are not the only markets that have an increased demand for digital expertise. A study by Robert Waters insists every market has noticed a growth in demand for digital knowledge across marketing and IT. This guarantees that graduates with relevant and instantly applicable skills will have far greater options than those who do not.
Of course, it is also vital to continue to hone these skills and update them regularly. Upskilling on a regular basis will show a strong and motivated work ethic and lead to more career opportunities. Educational institutions that have their finger on the pulse and offer the latest digital courses should expect an uptake in return students with a desire to top-up their skills to continue to thrive online.
In conclusion, the demand for employees with digital skills will continue to grow in the coming years and professionals from all walks of life will be seeking educational institutions that offer these relevant courses to thrive well into the future.
Educators involved with training or higher education need to take steps to ensure their portfolios are ready to provide these individuals with the digital skills and expertise to remain relevant and employable.