Digital skills gap – what is it and why you need to act!

Rapid and widespread digitalisation has changed the nature of work, and digital skills are now regarded as essential for the modern workforce. Even though, a new report by Salesforce reveals a huge gap between the current workforce and the technical skills needed to advance in the digital age. The Global Digital Skills Index surveyed 23,000 people in 19 countries and only 28% said they actively learn new digital skills. As staffing shortages plague companies and more turn to AI, the digital skills gap in most of the G20 nations could result in a loss of $11.5 trillion in cumulative GDP growth over the next few years.

A woman using a laptop as an example of digital skills gap

Digital readiness is low

As companies embrace digital-first models, 76% of those surveyed do not feel equipped for the future although 82% say they plan to learn more within five years. 64% of Gen Z-ers admit they are excellent social media consumers, but less than 31% believe they have advanced knowledge to craft digital content. On a global scale, international trade has encouraged companies to adopt automation strategies as they confront low-cost competition from Japan and China. The next wave of technology is AI, and economists warn it must be used to assist workers rather than replace them. 

Since the 1980s, automation has eroded the labor market with machines that replace instead of augment human workers, which economists say widens the inequality and wage gap. As the post-war period between the 1950s and 1980s showed us, education and automation need to work in tandem to boost human capability and productivity. If governments and companies don’t up-skill employees, workers will need to pursue their own training through certification degrees. Some of the most in-demand skillsets of the future currently have less than 10 qualified candidates available per job posting. These skills are in areas such as data science, cloud, information security, AI and machine learning, and (ironically) robotic process automation.

How are companies closing the digital skills gap?

Numerous options exist for organisations to address the digital skills gap:

  • A common skills framework could be used to match talent with business skill demand.
  • Skill-based hiring practices could help fill digital skills gaps within companies.
  • Upskilling and reskilling initiatives can play a key role in building resilient workforces.
  • Redistribution of labour and skills across businesses can create opportunities to address skill mismatches.
  • Digitally inclusive initiatives and programmes can help develop digital skills.
  • Industry experience opportunities can provide effective alternatives for building skills.
  • Businesses can support workers by adopting a lifelong learning approach.
  • Developing cross-cutting partnerships between different stakeholders can help tackle the skills gap.

With tools like REWO you are able to create visual step-by-step instructions of the most common procedures in your organization. With it you can help pass on knowledge from your expert workers to everyone else and thus close the gaps in your company.


The issue of the digital skills gap is talked about in countries around the world. Even the world’s most technologically advanced countries, the US included, are struggling with it. Upskilling an already trained workforce to be able to work with or even develop digital products can be an enormous challenge. However, companies that fail to meet this challenge are likely to be superseded by those that do, or by new companies unburdened by a workforce lacking these digital skills.