Now that every company needs a digitally adept workforce, the race to attract, hire, and retain top talent in this field is as competitive as ever. Demand for tech talent was already outpacing supply, but the problem is getting worse as companies’ talent needs are converging. In our research at CEB, now Gartner, we found that 40 percent of all job postings by S&P 100 companies were for just 21 different roles, including many technical, digital, and data jobs. (CEB Recruiting Leadership Council members can read our full study on competing for critical talent with a market-driven sourcing strategy).
LinkedIn and Capgemini recently completed a study quantifying the severity of the digital talent gap and looking at where companies are missing the mark. They found that 70 percent of US companies say the digital talent gap is widening, while 29 percent of employees believe their skill set is currently redundant or will be soon and another 38 percent believe this will be the case for them in four to five years. These findings also highlight how much more companies need to be doing to train existing employees on the digital skills needed for success in the workplace of the future. Almost half of the employees surveyed were not satisfied with their organization’s current learning and development offerings, and 43 percent said they were willing to move to another company if they felt their digital skills were stagnating.
The data suggests that companies’ development priorities are misaligned with their own future talent needs. Our learning and development research has shown that companies are often too focused on short-term skills gaps when creating development programs. In this case, digital skills may be the long-term blind spot.
The Capgemini/LinkedIn study says cybersecurity, cloud computing, web/mobile development and analytics/data science were the chief skills gaps facing organizations. Companies need to be creating more job-relevant training around those topics for those in adjacent roles, such as product management or customer service, to be able to fill their openings. Since colleges and universities will not be overhauling their curricula anytime soon, these digital jobs will remain mostly unfilled until companies meet the talent supply where it is.
Companies must partner with workers so they may grow into these new, more technically-advanced roles. Apprenticeship programs may be part of the answer, along with initiatives like Google’s committing $1 billion to training US workers for the future. American businesses and industry groups are going to need to step up to solve this problem on their own or risk falling behind in the global market.
There are already many talent risks facing US employers in the global labor market, including the tightening of borders and foreign worker visa regulations, and other countries taking competitive steps in promoting apprenticeships. Accelerating the American workforce’s development of digital skills to bridge this gap is a key challenge for US employers in today’s business environment of uncertainty and constant change.