At a time of disruption, digital technology is revolutionising the way the UK economy operates. We are seeing this reflected in the workplace as business models evolve as a response to rapid innovation. No matter your industry, sector, product or service, it’s likely you’ll be faced with digital challenges involving a dependence on new digital skillsets.According to Business Barometer, 65% of employers recruited at a lower level than intended because of the skills shortage. And, there are currently 600,000 tech vacancies in the UK, a figure predicted to jump to 1million by 2020.
Jobs that didn’t exist 10 years ago are now a major source of UK employment and they include:
Social media manager
Cloud computing specialist
Big data analyst
Driverless car engineer
Youtube content creator
And one estimate suggested that 65% of children entering primary school will ultimately end up working in roles that aren’t even on our radar yet.
The digital world underpins our daily lives and this is inevitably overflowing into the professional realm.
Adam Marshall, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce said, “Unless the Government get a handle on the disarray in the training and apprenticeship system and sets out a clear immigration policy that enables firms to cover vacancies. The economic potential of many areas across the UK will continue to be held back.”
Let’s talk about some of the most vital skills a business can invest in at this stage, as digital innovations continue to advance.
Video content is the cornerstone of digital advertising. But more than just a way of promoting your business, it is also used to educate, inform, and communicate with prospective customers. 64% of consumers said watching a marketing video on Facebook influenced their purchasing decision.
Video is becoming one of the most universal ways of not just delivering, but consuming content. It can be transcribed, subtitled, and is extremely versatile in that it can be shared across a variety of platforms. An experienced and competent videographer should have the skills to film, edit and produce any video content.
Copywriting, particularly for your website or digital material, is about more than simply uploading some words and hoping for the best. A good SEO copywriter is cognisant of Google algorithms and will be able to craft text that not only writes for the user, but also for search engines. Your website is the front page of your business, and your online reputation depends on it, so it's important to have a skilled writer behind this to ensure everything is optimised and crafted according to a well-informed strategy.
Coding is an indispensable skill in the workforce today. But skilled coders are still relatively scarce, and can be expensive. The ability to construct and manipulate code comes from a place of understanding the UX (user experience), and every layer of users' online experience. If you have online presence that you value, it might be time to consider an in-house coder. Alternatively, you might consider up-skilling your existing workforce. This can be achieved through a variety of routes, such as apprenticeships or on-the-job educational courses.
Network and information security
With cybercrime on the rise, having someone in place that understands the depths of information security could save your business from pernicious threats and hackers. Not least, all of the information you store should be carefully managed and backed up on an off-site server. Do you have the internal capabilities to manage this? If not, it's time to consider the investment. It's one that could save your business from fatal consequences.
It’s perhaps an inevitability that some roles will be replaced by automation, bots and artificial intelligence in years to come. It's a scary thought, but thankfully, there are roles - those that involve complex decision-making and creative thinking - that will be safe. We cannot programme emotional intelligence, critical thinking and judgement into machines. These are inherent characteristics of human beings. A workforce that can apply these skills is something we are seeing less of as automated programmes take over. But a level of creative thinking could give you an edge over your competitors.
All it takes is an ability to asses the landscape. We are living through a time of extremely progressive innovation which will undoubtedly shake the workplace. Spotting needs for particular skills is just the first step to arming your workforce with intelligence over competitors.