These stats on the digital skills gap will reinforce your decision to advance your education

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The movement is real: 60 per cent of people with an interest in digital skills are investing their own time and money to further their education, based on a survey conducted by CapGemini and LinkedIn.

At a recent event in Toronto featuring major banks and other large organizations, CapGemini discussed the implications of the research findings, which revealed major dissatisfaction among employees with the corporate learning opportunities available to them.

Forty-two per cent of those surveyed, for instance, described their employer’s training and development programs as “useless and boring.” They also complained that employers were not giving them enough time to pursue on-the-job learning, and 38 per cent worry that their current skill set will be redundant within the next four or five years.

According to Alexis Zamkow, lead for CapGemini’s Applied Innovation Discover Center, the findings should be a wake-up call to organizations who worry about their future in an increasingly digital world. According to business leaders surveyed, for instance, 54 per cent said a digital skills gap was hampering their ability to move forward with digital transformation initiatives, and the same percentage believed it could hurt their competitive advantage.

“If you’re not going to train them — surprise surprise — they’re going to train themselves,” she said, noting that 55 per cent of those with some kind of digital education said they would even be willing to switch jobs if they felt their skills were stagnating. “

“These folks might work for you now, but they might not work for you tomorrow.”

The drive to further their education wasn’t entirely a matter of employees finding a better job or getting a bigger salary, however. Zamkow noted that 38 per cent said they wanted to stay competitive with colleagues, 23 per cent wanted to pursue an area of interest where their employer didn’t offer any training, and 19 per cent said they believed better skills would enrich their personal as well as their professional lives.

CapGemini originally released the research late last year, but this marked the first time it was presented to a Canadian audience. Though the survey did not include Canadian responses, the findings correspond to a similar survey by CourseCompare which showed employees give their employers a “C” when it comes to providing ongoing learning and training.

Zamkow said that while “digital skills” can mean a lot of different things, there were definite trends in what employers are looking for. Sixty per cent of those surveyed said they need employees with skills in user interface design, for instance, while 64 per cent are looking for those who can do Web development. Digital “soft skills,” meanwhile —  such as comfort with ambiguity, change management and data driven decision-making — should not be overlooked by those furthering their own education.

“The soft skills are equally important as being a good coder,” she said.

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