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Tackling misconceptions around reskilling

By , Area Vice President, Salesforce - Emerging Markets
Africa , South Africa , 27 Aug 2021
Robin Fisher, senior area vice president, EMEA Emerging Markets at Salesforce.
Robin Fisher, senior area vice president, EMEA Emerging Markets at Salesforce.

In an all-digital world, the need for companies and societies to bridge widening skills gaps could not be more urgent. According to a recent McKinsey study, 87% of executives are experiencing or expect to experience skills gaps in their workforce. Accenture estimates that by 2028, the G20 countries could miss out on US$11.5-trillion of cumulative GDP growth if the growing digital skills gap is not addressed.

It is clear that immediate and sustained investment in digital skills, to offset job displacement driven by digitalisation, is imperative to our global economic recovery from the pandemic and to resilient, long-term economic growth. For companies, the lack of IT and digital skills is impacting across all business measurements, such as revenue growth and delays in rolling out new products and services.

What is sometimes not so clear to business leaders, however, is the scale of how technology is changing the nature of every job, and how businesses can set teams up for success.

In this regard there are three key misconceptions about re-skilling.

Not everyone will be a coder

Addressing the digital skills gap is not about everyone becoming a computer programmer or expert coder. Different jobs will require different levels of technical knowledge and skill. However, many non-technical roles such as sales and marketing, HR and finance, will require enhanced levels of digital proficiency. To prepare, employers need to help employees to become more comfortable using new applications and handling data. For the majority of jobs, this is becoming a core requirement.

Without having the required skills in-house, hiring external candidates for specialist roles can be a costly undertaking when you consider recruitment fees, advertising, and higher salaries these employees will require. Equipping teams with the right tools and level of knowledge to upskill will benefit companies and employees alike.

Lack of formal digital education is not a barrier to success

As new technology jobs are created, the skills gap is preventing many people from accessing them. Yet digital skills are much quicker and easier to gain than many people realise. Lack of formal digital education is not necessarily a barrier to achieving success in your chosen career.

Teams don’t have to be in the office to train

The way we live and work has dramatically changed. So must the way we learn. Our new digital world presents a major opportunity for companies to rethink what agile teams look like. By building tailored development programmes based not on what they think workers should know, but on what workers actually want, and need to know, companies can create a flexible working culture that empowers all employees to connect, learn and progress from anywhere.

The pandemic has presented us with a unique opportunity to rethink digital education and deliver an exciting evolution of business and society that ensures growth, innovation and happiness in equal measure. Now more than ever, businesses must work closely with governments and community stakeholders, to ensure that training scales up to match digital demand and accelerates recovery and growth.

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