The last few years have transformed Aussie businesses, with many new issues impacting the job market and the required skills demanded by employers.
With the necessary skills for a once straight-forward position frequently updating, many feel left behind, undertrained, and somewhat hopeless.
One of the key skills here is digital skills.
To understand how this functions in the workforce, RMIT Online and Deloitte Access Economics interviewed 413 business leaders and 1,040 employees from mid-size and big companies across several Australian industries and released the new Ready, Set, Upskill – Fast track growth with digital skills report.
The report found that digital skills increase the average salary of Australians in most professions, with the average increase being 9 per cent or $7,700 per annum.
But it’s not just the employees who should prioritise upskilling their digital literacy. Roughly one in five companies (21 per cent) say their employees’ digital skills are outdated.
It’s not just employers who think there is a problem with digital skills in the workforce.
The report’s analysis of job ads in 2021 revealed that these skills were the third most requested, behind customer service and project management and ahead of core areas like sales, budget management, and business processes.
Also, nearly two in five (38 per cent) companies surveyed said they lacked artificial intelligence and machine learning skills.
Now, while an employer may find themselves unsatisfied with their employee’s digital skills, it’s usually in their best interest to prioritise training these staff as over half of employers surveyed (58 per cent) were struggling to attract new staff.
Also, with one in four (24 per cent) of workers in select occupations in Australia requiring digital skills to perform their role, the pressure is on to master digital skills.
“It’s no secret that employers across Australia are struggling to find great people with the right skills,” said Helen Souness, RMIT Online’s CEO.
“In some industries, such as technology, big companies are raising salaries to attract talent and making it even harder for smaller businesses and startups to hire. We need to increase upskilling… to change this situation.”
Training and upgrading staff also reflect well on the employees themselves as the report found that 65 per cent of businesses now offer on-the-job formal training initiatives and 48 per cent offer coaching.
More than three-quarters of those interviewed said this shows employers are interested in their career development.
Additionally, most managers (82 per cent) believe upskilling staff will be critical for business performance this year.
Despite this, many still feel as though they aren’t doing enough. 77 per cent of managers in the report said their organisation could do more to upskill staff, while 61 per cent think they would be willing to increase investment if they expected fewer people to resign.
“Upskilling will be playing a crucial role in closing the skills gaps,” said John O’Mahony, a partner at Deloitte Access Economics.
“Employers anticipate they will spend more on upskilling over the next year and employees value this investment, with many noting that it is a sign their employers want to invest in them, and they care about their development.”
The need to update digital skills is cyclical: an employee needs to update their digital skills to get ahead in the workforce, while an employer should update their employees’ digital skills to hold them for longer and get more value out of them. This will also give the business a competitive edge and allow the trained employee to manage a heightened workload if a colleague leaves the business.
RMIT and Deloitte’s report HERE.
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