Can't Find Digital Talent? You Might Be Looking Too Far

Image credit: iStockphoto/Khosrork

Much has been said about the competitive landscape for digital talent in Singapore and the rest of the region. However, the vast untapped pool of potential digital talent within companies is often not considered — if only they were allowed to reskill and upskill.

This is according to a recent Boston Consulting Group (BCG) analysis, which also reveals that the proportion of digital workers who worry that their jobs are at risk is about the same as it is for other types of knowledge workers.

According to BCG, 42% of digital workers worldwide said they are increasingly concerned about automation’s effects on what they do. That compares with 48% of people in finance and auditing, 43% in HR, and 41% in media and information.

BCG interprets this as an opportunity for companies to invest in their employees and help them upgrade their skills. The report added that with the proper training, many non-digital workers could become digital ones. BCG also notes that Singapore has acknowledged this potential and is taking steps to enable its citizens to make the transition.

For example, the government has introduced projects such as Rise (Rapid and immersive skill development), a BCG-led mid-career reskilling program which aims to provide fast pathways to digital roles for non-digital workers.

"Upskilling and training Singapore’s non-digital workforce and out-of-workforce individuals can be explored alongside hiring top digital talent (and offering them stability through continuous upskilling programs) to achieve broader and more inclusive growth," said Sagar Goel, partner and associate director, BCG.

Where to begin

Goel, along with his fellow associate director Orsolya Kovacs, shared some action steps that companies can take to start their digital transformation journey:

  1. Take a long-term view of skilling and think of it as an investment, not an expense

  2. Develop a skilling strategy that blends hard and soft skills within an L&D program

  3. Use innovative solutions such as real-life customer interaction to address actual issues or challenges

  4. Power up on data to analyze skills gaps and identify pathways for groups of employees

  5. Consider assembling a skilling stack by using existing learning solutions on the market

  6. Trust that employees understand the need to upskill and reskill

"Prioritize interventions that empower them to learn instead of overly structured top-down skilling efforts. Data from BCG’s Decoding Global Talent report shows that 68% of workers globally are ready to retrain to new careers to stay competitive," they added.

However, they also acknowledge that skills gaps could not always be resolved internally and may be too large to solve. When this happens, they suggested that businesses work with other players in the industry and develop talent pools together or consider collaborating with academia or the government on initiatives to build up digital skills in Singapore.

Image credit: iStockphoto/Khosrork