At a time when technology is rapidly changing the job market, the digital talent gap is becoming a concern for many companies. In this article, we will analyse how this digital talent gap is affecting the current job market and how it can be addressed.
What is the digital gap?
The digital gap refers to the inequality in the access and use of information and communication technologies (ICT) between different groups in society. This includes the lack of internet access, the lack of skills to use advanced technologies, the lack of resources to buy electronic devices and the inequality in the quality of the ICT infrastructure. The digital gap can have a negative impact on economic development, education, and citizen participation. We must not confuse the digital gap and the digital talent gap.
What is the digital talent gap?
The digital talent gap refers to the lack of necessary skills and knowledge in the use of information and communication technologies (ICT) in the workforce. This can include a lack of technical skills, a lack of knowledge in the use of digital tools and a lack of digital skills in general. The digital talent gap can be an obstacle to economic development and competitiveness, as companies and industries require ICT-skilled workers to stay ahead in an increasingly digital environment. Therefore, it is important to encourage training and digital skills development to address this gap and ensure a competitive workforce.
How does the digital talent gap affect companies?
Currently, in Spain, the demand for technical personnel outweighs the number of people trained for it. This can be seen as both a challenge and an opportunity since the ICT sector can help reduce unemployment and job instability. However, changes are required to achieve this.
The VASS Foundation reports that approximately 8,000 computer engineers and 6,000 more graduates from other STEM-related careers each year, in addition to vocational training and short courses or unregulated boot camps. In total, it is estimated that each year some 42,000 individuals receive training. Even so, this is not enough to cover the 73,000 people required by the information technology sector in the last year. Therefore, it is crucial to find solutions to fill this digital talent gap.
How the digital talent gap affects companies
Obviously, companies are seriously affected when they find recently graduated candidates who lack sufficient training to carry out the tasks related to the position. Some consequences include:
- Difficulty finding skilled workers with the necessary ICT skills and knowledge, which can delay projects and increase costs.
- The digital talent gap can impact the ability of companies to compete in the market, since they may not have access to the best technology or workers trained in its use.
- Businesses that lack digital skills may experience decreased productivity and efficiency, which can affect their bottom line.
- The digital talent gap impacts the ability of companies to adapt to technological changes and stay ahead in an increasingly digital environment.
Therefore, it is important that Spanish companies invest in training and developing digital skills to address the digital talent gap and maintain their competitiveness in the market.
How can companies reduce the digital talent gap?
There are several initiatives that companies can implement to reduce the digital talent gap:
- Ongoing training: Companies can invest in training programs (upskilling and reskilling) for their current employees, to keep up with constantly evolving digital skills.
- Alliances with educational institutions: Companies can collaborate with universities and technical schools to promote technology education and create a pipeline of future talent.
- Mentor and trainee programs: Companies can implement mentor and trainee programs, where experienced employees can guide younger ones in developing their technical skills.
How can governments and educational institutions contribute to reducing the digital talent gap?
Companies alone cannot reduce the digital talent gap, intersectoral collaboration is necessary, that is, a collaboration between companies, educational institutions and governments, this is the key to helping generate integrated solutions to reduce the digital talent gap.
- Educational institutions need to update themselves and propose programs more adapted to current needs.
- Vocational training must be reinvented and promoted in a more positive way, it is necessary to remove the stigma from VET and vocational training modules.
- The Public Administration should play a key role by providing the necessary resources to close the digital talent gap. This should include incentives for employability-related vocational training, thus facilitating the task of meeting this need.
- The media also play an important role in conveying the message that technology affects all sectors, not just tech or innovative companies; All areas are looking for professionals trained in the digital environment.
How is Spain positioned in the face of the digital talent gap?
The Government of Spain, the Generalitat of Catalonia and the Barcelona City Council have made the decision to create the Giga Technology Centre in Barcelona. This centre is part of the UN program to connect all the schools in the world digitally and will be established in the city.
By establishing the Giga Technology Center in Barcelona, not only is the international presence of the city strengthened, but it also opens an opportunity for Barcelona to become a global facilitator of alliances in the creation of new educational technologies and the training of digital skills for young people. What takes place in Barcelona can be a catalyst to improve the preparation of young people around the world, not only for the digital world, but also for job opportunities, income generation and social inclusion offered by the constantly changing technology market.