Developing a Digitally Fluent Workforce

At DeVryWORKS, we’ve learned from companies across a range of industries that the tech skills gap is real, and it’s a big issue in businesses today. But closing the skills gap will mean more than acquiring teams with hard tech skills like those gained in computer engineering or networking degree programs.

Organizations are also seeking applied tech skills – the kind of competencies that enable deeper insights, faster processes, more dynamic teamwork and strategic innovation in the modern workplace. The call is for employees who go beyond being digitally literate contributors, to being digitally fluent leaders who can leverage an effortless use of technology to learn, work and communicate.

If that sounds like what your organization needs, perhaps you’re pursuing learning and development programs and skills gap training. As forward-thinking employers are driven to develop a digitally fluent workforce to help move their businesses ahead, younger workers are attracted to employers who value their skills and provide development opportunities.

That’s an important connection, considering millennials are predicted to make up 75% of the workforce by the year 20251, and 87% of millennials say development is important in a job, but the majority feel they are not getting opportunities to learn.2 So, when developing a digitally fluent workforce, what are some of the key attributes you might want to focus on? Here are a few ideas for starters:

Data Science and Analytics

By 2021, 69 percent of U.S. business employers are expected to prefer job candidates with data science and analytics skills. However, only 23 percent of graduates will be in possession of such skills, according to a recent report according to a poll conducted by Gallup for the Business-Higher Education Forum (BHEF) in conjunction with PwC by Gallup and PwC.3

Digitally Savvy Leadership

The BHEF study reveals a demand for business people with analytics skills, not just data scientists. The percentage of employers who say data and analytics skills will be required of all managers is notable, including 49% of executive leaders, 51% of marketing and sales managers and 59% of accounting and finance managers.3 With this in mind, development opportunities that support growth in tech-enabled career paths across businesses units would seem to be a critical need.

Cloud-Based Operations

Making the switch from traditional programs to cloud alternatives offers more functionality when it comes to collaboration. Perhaps that’s why one 2017 “State of the Cloud” report indicates 85% of enterprises are operating with a multi-cloud strategy.4 When teams understand how to leverage that, it can have a positive impact on processes and outcomes.

Basic Coding Skills

According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), HR professionals are challenged by the need for employees outside the IT department who know how to code. Basic coding abilities are desired   for positions ranging from website marketing to research scientists, but there’s a shortage of qualified talent.5 Helping your current workforce to get “skilled up” through training and education programs is one way to address this challenge.

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References:

1 Dews, F., The Brookings Institution, Brookings Now, 2014, 11 Facts About the Millennial Generation, on the internet at https://www.brookings.edu/blog/brookings-now/2014/06/02/11-facts-about-the-millennial-generation/ (visited August 23, 2017).

2 Adkins, A. and Rigoni, B., Gallup, Business Journal, 2016, Millennials Want Jobs to be Development Opportunities, on the internet http://www.gallup.com/businessjournal/193274/millennials-jobs-development-opportunities.aspx (visited August 23, 2017).

3 BHEF and Gallup, Data Science and Analytics Higher Education Survey, December 2016, retrieved from http://www.pwc.com/us/en/publications/assets/investing-in-america-s-dsa-talent-bhef-and-pwc.pdf.

4 RightScale, 2017 State of the Cloud Report. Retrieved from https://www.rightscale.com/lp/state-of-the-cloud.

5 Wright, G., Society for Human Resource Management, 2016, HR Increasingly Seeks Employers Who Can Code, on the internet at https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/hr-topics/technology/pages/hr-increasingly-seeks-employees-who-can-code.aspx.