Mind The Digital Talent Gap

Publication Date: Feb 07, 2018
Article by Carm Cachia published on The Sunday Times of Malta on 4th February 2018

What is Digital Talent?  It is not easy to define in a few words.  Some companies state that their organisation is strong, or not, in digital talent, but I would say, what would their definition be? My view is that Digital Talent is neither skills in using Facebook or Twitter nor digital mastery or being a tech geek. People of this sort are acting digital but are not necessarily with digital talent. Digitally talented people are those who think digital, those who use digital technology to bring value to their organisation through a change in approach, efficiency, effectiveness, competitiveness and cost, or perhaps in a social context, those who improve their wellbeing by using digital means.  Talent is a natural aptitude or skill.

An interesting report on the subject issued by Capgemini, in collaboration with Linkedin, lately made it to my desk.  The Report is based on a survey of over 1,250 people who are either employees, leaders in their field or talent executives in digital recruitment. Most organisations know about the digital talent gap, and the importance of minimising it for their organisation. The Report identified a number of key indicators regarding the Digital Talent.

The Digital Talent Gap is widening. Most people acknowledged this, and this has also come up in our local studies. Over 54% of the organisations agree that the lack of digital talent is hampering their digital transformation, and their organisations have lost the competitive advantage.  The Talent gap is more pronounced in the soft digital skills (e.g. Think digital, passion for learning, customer-centric) than those that are hardcore (e.g. data analytics, cloud computing, cybersecurity). Soft digital skills constitute a “digital-first mindset”.

Many of the employees today are anxious and worried that their skills are already not in line with the current and future needs, or their skillset will become so in the next 2 years.  Many employees feel that their companies are not doing enough for their training to be effective for their development.  These companies are not looking beyond their organisation.  People want to develop themselves for their career, and not just for their organisation.  Due to this over 60% of the people are investing their own time and money to remain competitive on the required digital skills.

Over 55% of the digital talent have expressed their desire to move to another organisation if they feel that their digital skills are stagnating at their current employer. In fact, more than half would move for another company that offers better skills development.

It is widely accepted that those organisations who manage to bridge the Talent Gap will be those who would lead and have a competitive edge over the others.  In my previous articles, I have articulated this clearly.  The Capgemini Report matches with our recommendations in the ICT Skills Audit which we carried out last year.  The challenges of attracting, developing, and retaining digital talent would be crucial. We need to fulfil the learner’s career ambitions and employer skills needs. Th ICT labour market needs to be socially, professionally and technically equipped, while the ICT Profession should locally be developed further to be aligned with the European Framework of IT Professionalism.  Every actor in the ICT Industry needs to do their part and look beyond their primary objectives, and it may be that the secondary objectives would become as important.