With so many employees now working remotely, over two-thirds of small business owners have noticed a digital skills gap in their workforce. The need for expertise in these skills has been growing as more elements of a business, such as marketing and data analysis, have moved to digital mode. Most companies believe that this lack of skills will hamper their growth, and reskilling will be essential for most workers in order to meet requirements. As a recruiter, whether you’re aiming to recruit in-house or look further afield, proactively seeking out applicants who possess less conspicuous digital expertise, or who have the potential to upskill, could help you find the right employees to fill the digital skills gap.
According to government statistics, almost five and a half million working adults in the UK possess no digital skills at all. Increasing support for upskilling, from online courses to on-the-job training, is being offered to help anyone looking to further their career. However, many job applicants, including those in more creative fields, may already have the digital skills you are looking for, even if they are not listed fully on a CV. Someone with an interest in graphic design or photography will have practical experience with digital apparatus, and knowledge of specialised editing and printing software. In addition, if they have built a successful business in the field, they will have had to develop a marketing strategy to run their own digital campaigns using email and social media. Recognising these skills, and the potential to adapt them to other areas of work, could help you to find the perfect candidate.
As well as a need for greater experience in digital marketing, the Confederation for British Industry has highlighted a lack of competence in data analytics. They estimate that in order to fill gaps in business, 90% of employees will need to reskill over the next ten years. The range of digital skills required in many roles is constantly evolving with the development of new technology. However, the abilities necessary to adapt to a changing digital environment remain the same. If you are recruiting for a company looking for expertise in data analytics, then candidates who are familiar with Excel, and who can demonstrate excellent numeracy and critical thinking skills, could potentially be a good fit for upskilling.
With a lack of digital expertise in the workplace, competition for the best candidates is increased. As well as waiting for potential employees to connect with you through traditional job adverts, actively seeking candidates in other ways means you could spot top-quality talent before they are snapped up by another company. Examining open source projects in a relevant field could give you a feel for someone’s level of digital skills and the quality of their work before you reach out to them.
With a growing need for digital skills in the workforce, finding applicants with the right expertise is vital. Where their skills are not obvious, looking for the potential to upskill could still help you find the right candidate for the job.
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