Can the Tech Skills Gap be Closed?
Companies are making major investments in new technology in order to maintain relevance. However, the success of new technology does not rely on how fast companies are to adopt. Rather, it relies on how thoughtfully companies are in educating their workers to actually use new technology.
The reality is, insufficient training and support around the adoption of new technology is stunting career growth and resulting in a rising lack of confidence among workers in their technical abilities. In fact, according to Docebo’s 2019 Tech Skills Index Report, nearly half of working Americans regret not receiving more tech training.
It’s not just employees who are impacted by a growing technology skills gap — the scourge will come for companies as well if more is not done to empower workers with necessary skills. So how does a business go about tackling this major, growing and global issue?
To close tech skills gaps, organizations need to prioritize training and development above all else.
No generation gets behind
The job market is evolving and as a result, Baby Boomers are falling behind. For these experienced workers who have demonstrated their dedication to the workforce over decades, this is more than scary — it’s demoralizing.
In fact, one in four Baby Boomers don’t think they have the skills needed to win a new job. Especially when comparing themselves to their younger co-workers, nearly half of Baby Boomers don’t feel as tech-savvy. Unfortunately, this gap in digital literacy does not stop with Boomers, with 21 percent of working Americans, in general, saying they don’t feel they have the necessary tech skill sets to position themselves as an experienced candidate for a new role.
Clearly, when it comes to operating in the digital world, employees are lacking confidence in their technical skills and it’s hindering them from progressing in their careers. But whose responsibility is it to empower workers with necessary technical skills for the workplace – the employer or the employee?
The truth is, this feeling of under-qualification and uncertainty is caused by inadequate on-the-job training, not by personal technological inadequacies.
The lack of training on the part of the employer is prevalent and debilitating. Nearly 20 percent of U.S. employees don’t receive any tech training at all. And for those that are receiving tech training, it’s not necessarily effective, with nearly half of employees regretting not receiving more training as previously mentioned. This intergenerational problem is impacting workers of all ages, but it’s imperative for employers to leverage the resources necessary to address the growing issues with generational skills gaps before it poisons more of the applicant pool.
Shifting away from a traditional training approach
In today’s modern workplace, where functions and processes evolve and update at lightning speeds, it’s concerning to see how many organizations rely on outdated training for their employees.
The biggest fear of an employer should not be that their employees become too skilled and qualified to do a job, but rather that their employees become stagnant in an environment that does not challenge them – or worse, begin to lack confidence in their ability to perform their job day-to-day. To combat stagnation and this feeling of inadequacy, employers must shed their traditional approaches to training and embrace new and more effective methods for connecting with workers.
Employees don’t want to resist training. In fact, workers who have received training from employers say they want more training, especially Millennial workers. Issues only arise from employees being made to do training that is outdated, irrelevant, superfluous and ineffective. Training needs to be informal, accessible, and available on-demand so that it becomes an integral part of employees’ day-to-day.
Ultimately, closing the tech skills gap means addressing internal talent first – not searching for new talent elsewhere. Approaching training with modern learning preferences in mind – think mobile capabilities, or social media-like interactive opportunities – ensure that current employees are growing the skills they’ll need to fulfill the changing needs of your business.
The power of AI
One of the most powerful tools in any employer’s kit is AI, especially when it comes to creating the infrastructure for effective training programs. AI-powered learning tools are helping employees understand how to work with AI-technology. The platforms work alongside employees and use technology to help elevate learning, rather than deter.
In schools across the world, curriculums are becoming more interactive and personalized than ever, as tailored lessons are proven to be more effective for learners. Employers must approach their in-house training in the same way. Lessons should be personalized to each employee, progress along with them to optimize learning, and have direct ties to real-world, actionable issues.
It’s not just the employees that benefit from the implementation of AI in training. AI-driven training platforms also help HR staff track progress so employees don’t feel stagnant, or that they’re lacking important skills to progress in their careers. This deep understanding of employees allows a company to better empower and grow its workforce through concerted, proven programs. AI-powered learning tools help executives identify these knowledge-gaps even if they don’t have the opportunity to connect with staff and discuss roadblocks one-on-one. Training can be tailored to support employees who have specific skill sets that need improvement, whether it be technical or otherwise.
The technology skills gap will only continue to grow if real change is not implemented when it comes to learning and development. Training is as important for employees as it is for their employers — without the proper support, workers will grow to stagnate and will ultimately stall the growth of an organization. Employers must be proactive when it comes to implementing personalized, tailored, AI-driven training to keep the correlation of employee support and business results trending upward together.
About the author: John Coffee, is a Talent Acquisition Manager at Docebo, focusing on hiring the best talent for Docebo, an E-Learning SaaS company while implementing programs that drive retention and employee engagement.