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Australians Fear They Lack Digital Skills to Future Proof Careers

27 January 2017 at 3:09 pm
Wendy Williams
More than half of Australian workers fear they lack the digital skills to guarantee future employability, according to new research.

Wendy Williams | 27 January 2017 at 3:09 pm


Australians Fear They Lack Digital Skills to Future Proof Careers
27 January 2017 at 3:09 pm

More than half of Australian workers fear they lack the digital skills to guarantee future employability, according to new research.

A report, commissioned by HR and recruitment specialists Randstad, found 55 per cent of Australians believed they needed to develop stronger digital skills to future proof their careers.

According to the quarterly Randstad Workmonitor Report a further two-thirds (67 per cent) agreed digitisation of the workforce required different skill sets to those available at their current employer, with many feeling they were not being kept up to speed with the pace of change.

Randstad Australia and New Zealand CEO Frank Ribuot said with careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) on the rise there was more pressure than ever for employees to be upskilling to secure their future employability.

“Careers across the board are transforming with advances in technology, as we change the way we work, the way we communicate with customers and employees, and the way in which consumers spend and engage with brands,” Ribuot said.

“In response, organisations are adopting increasingly sophisticated digital strategies to maintain a competitive edge and deliver a superior customer experience, but the workforce is not feeling confident their employer is keeping them up to speed with the pace of change.

“Customer facing roles for example are being transformed by technology and AI and customers now have more options for self-service in industries such as retail and hospitality. For companies in these sectors there is a greater need to have people who can manage the back end of these systems, rather than those who focus on face to face interaction.”

Ribuot said upskilling was a joint responsibility of both the employer and employee.

He warned that if the issue of skills shortage and lack of training was not addressed in the immediate future, the workforce was at risk of not being skilled for long-term employability.

“A diverse skills set is one of the most valuable commodities an employee can bring to a role, so it is in the employee’s best interest to be constantly upskilling wherever they have the opportunity,” he said.

To help employees “future proof” their careers Ribuot offered some top tips:

  • Always look ahead: The unpredictability of the current employment landscape means employees need to be prepared for whatever the future holds. It is a wise idea to keep abreast of industry trends and always be prepared for the possibility of a role change or even a transition to an entirely different industry.
  • Open yourself to opportunities: Seeking out opportunities for further training or skills development is not just the role of an employer, but also a joint responsibility for employees. An employee should be constantly seeking out opportunities to learn: whether that’s taking on new responsibilities with your existing employer, putting your hand up whenever relevant training opportunities arise in your workplace, or seeking out courses to recommend to your employer or complete on your own time.
  • Build connections: The more you meet and connect with others, the more opportunities will come your way. Building connections with like minded co-workers or mentors in your industry can open doors that will allow you to both expand your skills and boost your potential employment opportunities.

He said it was increasingly important as organisations across a range of industries were “snapping up talent” with digital skills, but not necessarily upskilling their existing workforce.

“People are obviously crying out to be upskilled and while it can seem daunting to learn from scratch in certain areas, a lot of skills are actually quite transferrable,” Ribuot said.

“Many customer service roles for example have already shifted from interacting face to face, to managing content on social media channels and listening and responding online to customer feedback.

“The same principles still apply, it’s just about shifting our thinking around how service is delivered and how we use our skills in the most effective way.”

Wendy Williams  |  Editor  |  @WendyAnWilliams

Wendy Williams is a journalist specialising in the not-for-profit sector and broader social economy. She has been the editor of Pro Bono News since 2018.

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