The Digital Skills gap: oft-mentioned, lamented and commented about, in business, it is an issue we are all too aware of and the figures support the facts with recent statistics from the UK Commission for Employment & Skills reporting that employers struggle to fill 43 per cent of STEM vacancies.
This isn’t news, but we were interested to read a recent CITY A:M article which suggested outdated recruitment processes and attitudes might be to blame?
There’s lots of focus on encouraging the study of STEM subjects in schools and across genders plus initiatives and programmes to encourage the learning of digital practices all in a mission to equip the next working generation with the tools they’ll need for the modern workplace. However positive as those steps are, they weren’t in place for the current generation joining or moving through the ranks of the workforce but that doesn’t mean they don’t have valuable digital skills to offer.
Are digital skills missed using traditional recruitment methods?
The generation entering the workforce right now is truly digital, from smartphones to social media they have known little else but it’s less likely they’ve studied these subjects at an academic level. Now consider the last job advert you saw almost regardless of what the job was it probably requested some sort of level of qualification and likely in a certain subject.
To truly attract today’s digital and technology talent businesses should be looking beyond the traditional requirements and channels, requesting a degree in computer science and refusing to interview anyone who doesn’t have one is a narrow-minded view and one which means businesses are missing out on available talent. We’ve experienced first-hand that those who have studied non-STEM subjects or even those who didn’t embark on further education at all are still able to move into and develop successful technology careers but based on traditional methods wouldn’t have got past the first application stage.
From relying on ‘old school’ approaches like graduate fairs or only advertising on job boards, businesses must look beyond the traditional methods used to attract talent, particularly those just entering the workforce.
It’s no surprise that the UK is seeing record numbers of young people set up their own businesses, in 2017 the number of company directors under 30 broke the 300,000 mark, in a clear demonstration that these digitally empowered entrants into the workforce will simply go their own way if businesses don’t step up and embrace new methods of attracting talent.
Technology is synonymous with change, it’s what most tech professionals are hired to do, but businesses can’t expect to hire someone to effect change if they’re not willing to do so themselves.