THE BLOG

The Digital Skills Gap Can Be Fixed

01/01/2017 15:01 GMT | Updated 01/01/2017 15:01 GMT

The digital skills gap is said to cost the UK economy over £63bn in lost additional GDP a year, and $1 trillion a year in lost productivity to the US economy, one thing that's incredibly clear is that globally we need to act, and fast.

The Digital Economy is increasingly important to every business and country throughout Europe, with the estimated turnover for the continent expected to reach €216bn in 2016. However, a report from the DMA states there's a significant concern for many companies to ensure that they have the data and digital skills within their businesses to succeed.

Considering the digital economy being a major concern, and over 150,000 digital jobs predicted by 2020, you'd think that organisations have the pick of the litter, wouldn't you?

Well sadly, that isn't the case. The truth is, in most instances, companies don't actually know what they are looking for when recruiting digital talent, and without a digital plan, it can end up with the blind leading the blind.

Misconceptions

Perhaps digital marketing is misrepresented because we look at digital as a specific role in time and not in terms of the commercial innovation necessary for businesses and brands to move forward.

Companies must break down the 9-5 at a desk mentality to appeal to digital talent who, as the name suggests, have increased levels of flexibility to work away from an office, in more creative environments or during less traditional working hours.

There are so many digital fields that a company can benefit from, whether they are specific to a direct activity or tactic (such as an online client engagement manager or SEO specialist), or generalist for example a Digital Marketer or Communications Manager, who may be responsible for a number of areas within the business from social media management through to digital communication, website maintenance and digital customer relations.

For organisations to gain the right talent, they must have a clear understanding of what they are looking for, not only commercially, but skills wise too.

Lack of progression or training opportunities

Digital talent can sometimes be seen as a fix to a problem, like when a company is experiencing website issues, or when they have a social media crisis. This ultimately means that for many people who enter digital roles, there is no (or a significant lack of) company progression or further training, which as we know in any marketing role is essential to stay on top in an ever changing environment.

In competency based tests it was revealed that only 8% of current marketers possess entry level digital skills, while 69% of marketers in the UK and USA say they feel the need to improve their digital skills in order to remain competent in their current role.

Bridging the digital skills gap

The future is digital, in order to succeed our thinking and skillset needs to be too, failing to do so will result in an even larger skills gap than what currently exists and will not only affect organisations who need to adapt their marketing to new innovative audience engagement strategies, but also decrease the opportunities for people looking to advance or enter a career in marketing.

Many associations and leading authorities are recommending firms look to invest in training programmes that will help bridge the divide within their organisation.

One such possible solution is one of the world's leading sales and marketing training providers, Professional Academy, who in partnership with the Digital Marketing Institute have launched a new digital skill based qualification to plug the gap between traditional and digital marketing skills.

Professional Academy currently host over 1,000 individuals on their marketing courses, which can be completed in academy (room based training), or virtually.

The Digital Marketing Diploma, announced just last month has been created with both academic and commercial representatives so that it truly works to tackle the skills deficit globally and help the next generation of marketers acquire the digital skills they need, with accredited courses and qualifications.

To read more about the digital marketing diploma, visit http://www.professionalacademy.com/digital-marketing-courses/professional-diploma-in-digital-marketing