Beringer Tame Blog

Please Mind The Gap - Facing The Digital Skills Gap

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One of the biggest issues facing UK businesses right now is that of the digital skills gap.

Following a year of huge digital transformation, organisations either already have digital talent in place, or are still in need of it - and in the field of ecommerce recruitment there now there is a clear tug-o-war between the number of open digital jobs and the appropriate skills available. 

"Being unable to source digital talent could significantly impair [an organisation's] ability to recover and grow in the current economic climate".

At the start of the pandemic there was a shuffle of talent as individuals moved around though job losses, redundanies, moves and hiring.  

Talented individuals who lost jobs were very quickly snapped up.  

Some businesses got lucky by going digital early and having the pick of talent very early on.

Some got lucky by quickly employing skilled staff who were laid off in 2020.  

However, many others have now realised that they neither have the skills within their organisation, nor can they now easily find them externally.

This needs serious focus - and fast!

As jobs are transformed by the technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we need to reskill more than 1 billion people by 2030.


“More than two thirds of UK leaders say their organisation is facing a digital skills gap. The challenge is to close it – and quickly.”

Unlocking the UK’s digital potential

Below are the key findings from a joint research project between Microsoft and Goldsmiths University of London;


1) Clear Digital Skills Gap

  • 69% of (surveyed) UK leaders believe they currently have a digital skills gap.
  • 44% of leaders fear their organisation's current lack of digital skills will have a 'fairly negative impact' on their success in the coming 12 months.
  • 32% of C-level executives say that upskilling employees is a top priority in the next six months (LinkedIn).

2) Main barriers to digital skills investment 

  • Cost (37%)
  • Lack of skills strategy (28%)

3) Employees want to learn

  • 59% of employees feel that "developing their digital skills will be important to their employability after COVID-19".
  • 63% of employees don't think they "have the appropriate digital skills to fulfil new and emerging roles in their industry". 
  • only 38% feel they "have the appropriate digital skills to benefit from the digital economy". 
  • just 36% believe "their industry is placing enough investment in digital skills training and education".

“People want to be reskilled. They know they need to learn new things to be relevant.”

Carol Stubbings, Global Leader, PWC

4) Business leaders have concerns

  • Business leaders "lack faith in both the education system and government to resolve the UK digital skills gap"

“Skills are the currency of digital transformation.”

Simon Lambers, Chief Learning Officer, Microsoft UK

5) Digital skills impact on bottom line performance

  • Digital skills "hold the key to 2.4% minimum of a company’s bottom line". 

6) Digital investment is vital

  • 80% believe "investment in digital skills capabilities will be important to the country’s economic recovery following COVID-19".
  • 78%  recognise that "having a large digital skills talent pool as essential to driving UK competitiveness on the global stage".

7) Productive vs Consumptive Skills

"Productive digital skills are twice as valuable as consumptive digital skills"

  • Productive digital skills
    • allow someone to create new digital tools and systems for others to adopt
  • Consumptive digital skills
    • enable people to use digital solutions that have been built by others.

Digital skills productive vs consumptive

Digital Skills Productive vs consumptive

Images: UK’s digital skills gap poses risk to economic recovery, research reveals (Microsoft)

8) What are digital skills?

  • Data literacy
  • Digital research & problem solving
  • Information literacy
  • Digital creation
  • Digital innovation
  • Media literacy

9) The "Next Gen" worker

  • Employees are not ready to "deploy productive digital skills"
  • "Significant productive skills inequality remains between sectors and regions"
  • Gender imbalances remain with "productive skills being more common in men than women (17% vs. 13%)".
  • Organisations have the opportunity to harness the "untapped resource" of 'Next Gen Workers'.

"73% of UK employees are Next Gen Workers who have a combination of high consumptive skills and emerging productive skills."

10) Time to act

  • Digital upskilling "is a social responsibility as well as a commercial edge".
  • Leaders must start to integrate digital across their organisation's through tech & talent.
  • Release 'Next Gen workers' through enhanced digital "learning and development programmes"
  • Empower & support employees to develop "softer skills while fostering a dynamic, diverse and inclusive approach to talent management and recruitment".

Digital marketplace

There are plenty of roles that fall under the digital umbrella and they all require a slightly different set of skills.

Good communication and creativity are a huge plus, as are analytical and technical skills.

Quite often a creative individual will do well in content writing and social media positions, wheras the more technical and analytical minded out there will go into the more data focussed roles.

Here are some of the key digital marketing jobs and the most in demand digital roles you may see in the ecommerce recruitment marketplace right now. 

  • Search Engine Optimization & Marketing (SEO & SEM)
  • Digital Marketing Analytics
  • Social Media Marketing & PPC
  • Content Writing and Copywriting
  • Email Marketing
  • CRM Skills
  • Web Design and Development, UX

When it comes to talent

"The goal is to achieve a balance of tech and general talent that is integrated throughout the organization.... since companies can never hire for all the digital talent needed, it’s also important to measure how well an organization is upskilling existing talent"


Related Articles

UK’s digital skills gap poses risk to economic recovery, research reveals

Martech Skills 2020: 10 Top Skills Your Digital Marketing Team Needs

The UKs Fastest Growing Job Sectors According to LinkedIn

How will digital transformation impact jobs & recruitment?

7 Essential Skills Every Digital Marketer Should Know

We need a global reskilling revolution – here's why

UK 'heading towards digital skills shortage disaster'

Associated Press Release

PA Life - The widening digital skills gap - you to ensure you're not left behind

HR News - The widening digital skills gap: how to ensure you’re not left behind

BBP Media - The widening digital skills gap: how to ensure you’re not left behind

Beringer Tame are a specialist ecommerce recruitment agency. If you're interested to see which digital & ecommerce jobs we are currently recruiting, have a look at our latest jobs page.

Image: Unsplash

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