Training, key to eliminating the digital talent gap*
March 28, 2022
Tech & Data
Carmen Alba, Academic Director of Schiller Institute of Business Technology in partnership with IBM
*This article was originally published in the Generacciona blog on March 4, 2022.
"I'm old, not an idiot." With that simple, yet powerful statement, 78-year-old Spaniard Carlos San Juan has managed not only to pressure the banks into not forgetting about their older customers, but also to highlight the way the digital society neglects a large part of the population. In Spain, only 33% of people between 55 and 74 years old have digital skills, according to a recent study by the Fundación SERES.
In the workplace, digitalization has been accelerated by the pandemic, which has forced us to hone our digital skills in almost every aspect of our lives. From retailers who have turned to Tik Tok to sell carpets, washing machines or churros to the manager seeking to understand the behavior of their consumers through the use of artificial intelligence and data analysis there is hardly a single job anymore that is not affected by digitalization. If the expectations of the Spanish government's recovery plan are met, digitalization will be at the core of our economic and social life by 2025, which could contribute to further deepening the digital gap.
Both realities–society’s increasing digitalization and the digital gap among over-55s–place senior talent at a clear disadvantage, and they greatly hinder the much-needed diversity in organizations. Moreover, given the increased life expectancy of today's population and the declining demographic rate, this poses a social problem to which we urgently need to respond.
Digital transformation requires us to have digital skills, education and training. Because if we want to remain part of the labor market, we need to be able to understand and work with machines, robots, and algorithms. Upskilling –the acquisition of new skills and competencies for our current job– and reskilling –the acquisition of competencies for new jobs– are of prime importance in the digital sphere. According to IBM's study, "The Enterprise Guide to Closing the Skills Gap", 120 million workers in the 10 largest economies will need to be upskilled in the next three years to adapt to the digital training needs demanded by the market.
Ensuring that talent –senior and otherwise– is not left behind in the digital transformation of society and business is one of our goals at the Schiller Institute of Business Technology in partnership with IBM. Our programs provide very practical training that enables participants to enter the world of Artificial Intelligence, Cybersecurity, Business Analytics and Big Data, and to integrate this knowledge into their work activity right from the start.
Ensuring that being “old” and “digitally dumb” are never synonyms.