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The Marketing Technologist

The Digital Skills Gap: What It Is and How to Address It

By Courtney Montanye on May 08, 2017 |


What is the Digital Skills Gap?

Grovo, a New York-based technology company who provided a SaaS learning platform, says that there are 8 core digital skills that are essential to the 21st century workforce:

Project Collaboration & Management

      • The ability of employees to get things done as a team; requires employees to efficiently navigate and use a business' chosen workflow and project management tools.

Attention Management

      • Soft skills employees need to focus on the highest priority tasks, thereby avoiding distractions.

Working with Documents

      • The ability of employees to efficiently create and navigate digital documents using a business's chosen set of programs.


      • Required to time-efficiently manage inbound and outbound communication, and to be able to clearly and effectively relay the desired information.

Search & Research

      • Skills required to effectively harness the wealth of digital information available both online and via a company's internal databases.

Digital Etiquette

      • The dos and don'ts of online communication; covers both common courtesy online and the informal rules of cyberspace.

Security & Privacy

      • The control of access to proprietary data and company IP.

Platform Flexibility

    • The skills required to be comfortable using the growing range of devices, operating systems, and platforms integral to modern business. 

To put it frankly, a large portion of employees do not know how to use the right technology tool for the job at hand or how to use the tools that are at their disposal. Technology is evolving at a rate faster than the training to use this technology; there isn't much professional development that focuses on digital products and topics. There are new technologies that are designed with the potential to transform the way we work but unless the workforce is empowered with the necessary skills, this potential is never reached.

The workforce does not have the digital skills that are needed to operate the new technology at hand and organizations are consistently finding this. While there are more than 200 million adults in the digital workforce, only 1 in 10 rate themselves as very proficient with the digital tools that they use each day. Not only is the digital skills gap is hurting business, the economy is also suffering. According to digitalskillsgap.com, the US economy is loosing $1.3 trillion each year because of this inadequate training. In order to close this gap, organizations need to allocate more resources in order to scale-up on their digital skills. Otherwise, they risk their competitiveness in the marketplace. 


How Do We Address It?

If you feel compelled to shrink the gap in digital skills at your organization, the following steps illustrate how to keep your employees' skills up to date.

Define Your Goals

Lay out the goals of each different department of the organization.

Define The Skills

Keeping the 8 core digital skills in mind, define the skills, both professional and technological, that each department should require to achieve their goals.

Assess The Skills

Test the competency of your organization against the professional and technological skills that are integral to your business and look out for priority areas that need addressing.

Design Training

If you can't design and deliver the appropriate training, invest in training programs for you and your employees.

Repeat It All 

Build a model that you can use over and over again to keep the skills of your workforce up to date.

Though the digital skills gap is harmful to the an organization and, much worse, the entire economy, it is preventable and treatable. As technology grows, we have to grow with it. Take the time to use the above action plan and invest the time and money that is needed to close the digital skills gap in your organization, helping to close the gap worldwide.


Interested in keeping up with the current trends in the digital world? Check out our Digital Skillscast Podcast! 

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