Overcoming the digital skills gap: how to attract the right talent for your business

By Donna Kimmel, - Future Workplace


This blog is co-authored by Citrix’s Donna Kimmel and Fujitsu’s Jason Fowler.

Every good business requires skilled talent to fuel its operations. However, this is becoming increasingly difficult to achieve as while digital operations continue to gain popularity, the digital skills level of the general workforce fails to grow at the same speed.

The disparity in digital skills poses a big problem that’s only going to hinder businesses’ access if nothing is done to bolster the digital capabilities of existing workforces. Currently, security engineering, AI, machine learning, data analysis, and IoT engineering are all highly in demand skillsets.

And It’s not just existing digital skills that need to be improved on but also those skills that’ll emerge over the coming years from today’s fast-paced innovation. There’s estimated to be some 133 million new roles generated as a result of the new division of labour between humans, machines and algorithms globally by 2022, accordingly to World Economic Forum. By 2035, robot/AI trainers, virtual reality managers, advanced data scientists, privacy and trust managers, and design thinkers are all expected to be in-demand job roles, according to Citrix’s Work 2035 study.

So what does this mean for everyday businesses such as the one you operate in?

It means that you’re going to be expected to embrace innovative technologies to meet changing customer expectations and remain competitive. But to do that, you’re going to have to internally develop the skills necessary for greater digital operations, as well as learn how to attract the brightest diverse talent to your organisation in a competitive recruitment market. Our blog will explore exactly this.


Keeping up with the competition

The digital skills gap presents a problem because it prevents your business from taking steps forward, from evolving your organisation, to understanding where technology can create value for you.

People are the heart of every business. People deliver your products, your services, and your customer experiences. When you can’t find the right people with the right skills to fill open roles, how can you maintain service levels and deliver for customers? How can you innovate and be competitive? Not filling your skills gap inhibits your ability to create a sustainable future for your business.

You wouldn’t run a modern business on typewriters and fax machines, so why would you not level-up your workforce as your technology evolves?


Strategies to overcome the skills gap

There’s not a single magic formula to ensure you’ll have the talent you need to succeed, but there are a few strategies that can help.

Firstly, gain support for digital transformation across the organisation before determining where to start. Once you’ve established support for investing in digital skills at the corporate level, you’ll move more quickly and efficiently than if each department tries to figure it out on its own. It’s at this stage that you should ensure everyone understands that today’s reliance on digital means your business is functionally a technology business and so must think like one – even if your business doesn’t trade in technology.

Secondly, promote a culture of adaptability and continuous learning. Your goal is to develop the skills among your current team, as well as hire skills externally. To do this takes deliberate investment in upskilling, time for training, experimentation, and recognition for growth and reinvention. Think about what the talent in front of your has the potential to do, rather than what they’ve already achieved. And consider how this can be nurtured to bridge your digital skills gap to create customer and business value, as well as add functionality.

The third step builds on the second: Invite employees to teach each other. Find your energetic influencers with deep digital skills who will be able to inspire others to grow and learn. As you bring in diverse skills into your teams, you’ll have more opportunities to reskill current committed team members. It’s essentially about building the future of your business with your talent, so allow them to have a place in reimagining your business for the future and how opportunities can be accessed.


Routes to the digital talent pool

To attract diverse digital talent, your organisation needs to build strong and strategic networks. There are three key groups to build relationships with:

  1. Universities. Build partnerships with schools that are training the future workforce. Get involved on campuses, offer internship programs, and participate in career fairs. Identify university groups that bring together students with a shared diverse background.
  2. Sourcing partners. Sometimes you need help getting an introduction. Connect with organizations that make it their job to build relationships with diverse talent. This extends to conferences that attract a variety of talent.
  3. Your own employees. When you make your organisation a great place to work, your employees will market your business for you. Your diverse team members will help others see that they’ll find people like them in your company.

Those businesses that harness the workplace transformation that’s happening across the world, such as prioritising employee experiences, will be the businesses who succeed in overcoming the growing digital skills gap.

Fujitsu have been working to guide businesses through the stages of reimagining the workplace via its Work Life Shift approach. It not only uses years of experience at the forefront of digital to offer a reliable roadmap for the future of the workforce, but also collaborates with a network of expert partners such as Citrix. Together, we help businesses make the most of their technology to access the benefits of digital, as opposed to risk the strain of lagging behind in digital transformation and recruiting digital talent.

If you’d like to find out more about how we may be able to help prepare your business to fill the digital skills gap, you can learn more here on our FUJITSU Work Life Shift page.

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