Despite spending an average of £109 per employee on digital training, 47% of UK employers felt their business would be more productive if their workers had better digital skills, a recent survey by Barclays has discovered.
Many companies bringing on new staff expect their candidates to already have skills in social media, productivity suites and computer security, often automatically passing over prospective employees with a lack of these ‘basic’ skills. This is leaving a large number of older employees, the group that typically can’t or won’t engage with technology, out in the cold or fearing for their current jobs. In the survey 45% of companies said they felt older employees were more difficult to train and slower to pick up skills and 59% of employees were scared that they would be passed over for a younger person with better digital knowledge.
Keeping ahead of the digital curve was one of the biggest concerns for the businesses surveyed but only 19% of those asked said they were planning to increase their I.T. Training budget in the coming year. Whether this is an example of short-sightedness or follows from the assumption that new staff with pre-existing skills will replace those who don’t isn’t clear.
The real issue for a company with unskilled workers isn’t just future-proofing but exposing the business and leaving it vulnerable to attack. Workers who lack the digital knowledge to even know which emails to open or websites to visit, especially on a large internal network, are a potential breach that could seriously damage a company’s health. Equally passing over an employee because of a situation that could be related to age or background, rather than purely skill-set, opens a company to a potential legal headache that no-one needs.
Ultimately a balance must be found. A culture of Skill-Flow needs to be engendered where knowledge travels both ways between the young upstarts and the veterans. There’s a lot that growing up with technology can teach those without the benefit, but equally 20 years in business teaches you a lot that you just can’t get from Google.
Posted to In the Media