3 Key Strategies to Overcome the Digital Skills Shortage

Bridge Digital Skills: 3 Key Strategies to Close the Gap

In digital economies globally, the demand to bridge digital skills is outpacing the supply of skilled professionals. In other words, this has led to a significant and growing skills gap between the available talent and what employers require.

The rapid adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is further widening this skills gap as many individuals struggle to keep pace with the latest AI competencies. A recent survey among our members revealed that 54% of marketers believe their team’s AI skills are inadequate, and 40% have yet to implement any AI-driven initiatives in their business.

The Impact of AI on the Skills Gap

The lack of AI knowledge creates barriers to entry for individuals and exacerbates disparities in economic opportunities and job market dynamics, hindering efforts to bridge digital skills. For example, AI is automating numerous tasks, leading to job displacement in certain sectors as existing skills become obsolete. Moreover, workers displaced by automation may find it challenging to secure new employment if they lack the necessary AI and digital skills to transition to new roles.

This issue is compounded by traditional educational institutions being slow to integrate AI training into their curricula, resulting in a shortage of graduates with essential digital skills. Moreover, employers are increasingly expecting candidates to possess AI-related skills, even for roles that did not traditionally require them. As a result, many job seekers are unprepared for interviews.

Is There Really a Skills Gap?

According to the World Economic Forum’s recent Future of Jobs Report, with the current pace of technological change, employers predict that 44% of workers’ skills will be disrupted within the next five years. For example, this means that six out of every ten workers will need retraining by 2027, with analytical thinking, AI, and big data identified as top training priorities.

This digital skills gap is a recurring theme internationally:

  • The European Commission’s Digital Economy and Society Index (DESI) highlighted that over three-quarters of companies in the EU face difficulties finding workers with the necessary skills.
  • In the UK, a survey of 500 businesses by Forbes found that 93% report a gap in IT skills within the UK job market. Additionally, 35% of companies identified competition in the job market as a significant challenge.
  • By 2030, the talent shortage and skills gap in the US alone is expected to result in a loss of $8.5 trillion, according to PwC.

Key Skills to Develop: Bridge Digital Skills

To avoid getting lost in the digital skills gap, let’s explore three crucial digital skills that can make you a sought-after marketer capable of earning a competitive salary.

1. Develop Your AI Skills

AI is revolutionising digital marketing by automating activities and campaigns on an unprecedented scale. Our recent survey identified several key benefits of integrating AI into marketing efforts:

  • Automation of routine tasks (68%)
  • Improved customer experience (46%)
  • Enhanced targeting and segmentation (45%)
  • Increased personalisation (44%)
  • Predictive analysis (39%)

By learning about the latest AI applications and tools, you can become a more efficient marketer. For example, AI tools can be used to:

  • Conduct audience research (SparkToro, Google Trends, or AnswerthePublic).
  • Develop and generate content (ChatGPT, Claude, or Perplexity).
  • Make data-driven decisions (GA4 and Tableau).
  • Drive innovation and customer engagement (chatbots or CRM platforms like Intercom).
  • Foster business growth.

2. Develop Your Digital Analytics Skills

In today’s digital landscape, strong digital analytics skills are essential for marketers to bridge digital skills. Collecting, analysing, and interpreting data from various digital channels (websites, social media, email campaigns, etc.) provides invaluable insights. Specifically, these insights include customer behaviour, campaign performance, and marketing effectiveness.

As a result, these insights enable marketers to make informed, data-driven decisions, optimise strategies, allocate resources more efficiently, and demonstrate return on investment (ROI). One of the most popular data analytics tools for digital marketers is Google Analytics 4 (GA4). GA4 employs a machine learning-based data model that offers accurate and actionable insights for better understanding online customer journeys.

Additionally, data and web analytics serve as a guiding compass in the digital landscape. In an era of vast datasets, GA4 helps spot key user behaviours and market trends. It allows you to decipher intricate patterns and uncover hidden insights, transforming raw data into actionable strategies. Furthermore, using GA4, you can optimise campaign performance and tailor customer experiences to meet the evolving needs of your audience.

From enhancing customer engagement to maximising ROI, GA4 is a cornerstone of digital success in today’s data-driven world.

3. Develop Your Digital Strategy Skills

To bridge digital skills and drive online innovation at a senior level within the digital landscape, understanding digital strategy is crucial. In fact, developing strategic thinking and leadership skills is vital for current and future career prospects.

Additionally, a digital strategy outlines how an organisation plans to utilise digital technologies to achieve its business goals and succeed in its sector. This strategy ensures that an organisation’s fate is not left to market conditions and competitive actions. Instead, it lays out how to:

  • Understand the changing digital landscape
  • Leverage emerging opportunities
  • Defend against potential threats
  • Gain a competitive advantage

With technology evolving rapidly, a robust digital strategy can navigate an online brand through uncertainty with agility and foresight. Subsequently, it inspires teams to embrace digital transformation, fostering a culture of innovation and adaptability. Moreover, from harnessing emerging technologies to redefining customer experiences, digital strategy and leadership are often the anchors for companies in an ever-changing world.

If you can build an online marketing communications plan using budgeting, resourcing, and reporting systems, it can position you for a management or leadership role within the digital marketing industry. The most successful strategic thinkers also develop complementary skills such as adopting an agile mindset, honing communication abilities, and thinking creatively. All in all, these ‘human’ skills will become increasingly important in the age of AI.

Advancing Your Career: Bridge Digital Skills

Transitioning into a senior role can be challenging, so gaining new skills and knowledge is crucial. It also equips you with the strategic, management, planning, and analytics knowledge expected by employers across industries. Download a brochure today to explore what you can achieve.

In conclusion, bridging the digital skills gap requires a concerted effort to develop AI skills, digital analytics proficiency, and strategic thinking abilities. By focusing on these areas, you can position yourself as an in-demand marketer. Overall, you’ll be ready to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital economy.

Find out more about what’s happening within the digital marketing in our blog column.

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