Digital transformation is top skills issue

Businesses across Europe are facing a major skills challenge caused by digital transformation, with many struggling to keep pace with learning and development (L&D) needs, according to Skillsoft research

Conducted in the UK, France and Germany, the research found that reskilling in the face of increasingly digital working environments is the biggest single issue for L&D professionals across all three countries (42% of respondents on average).

However, only 22% of respondents from across the three countries said their organisations are fully prepared to provide the new skills required by digital transformation.

The UK sits below this average, with just 14% of organisations saying they have fully prepared employees with new skills.

Despite the overwhelming response that businesses are not preparing employees for digital transformation, only half (48%) of the respondents in each country said organisations have increased investment in skills to keep pace with digital transformation.

Fifty-six per cent of businesses in the UK said they are not preparing for digital transformation.

In the UK, 48% of respondents also said they think digital transformation is a more challenging issue than Brexit (26%).

Steve Wainwright, managing director EMEA at Skillsoft, said: “It’s clear that across these three major territories digital transformation is severely testing the planning, implementation and spending strategies for L&D professionals.

“Despite a clear trend of increasing and targeted investment, the industry faces a challenge to keep pace with the changes that digital transformation is bringing.”

Wainwright thinks that technology will be vital to help build successful L&D strategies.

“We can all reap the benefits of this exciting era of disruptive change in the way we learn, widen our skillsets and give employees the greatest opportunity to develop,” he said.

The research was conducted by Skillsoft between 27 January and 10 February 2020, with a total of 467 respondents surveyed at three industry events. One in Germany (155 respondents), one in France (162 respondents), and one in the UK (150 respondents).

Further reading

How AI can help managers be more aligned with employees’ needs

Digitalisation lessons from other functions

How to build a people analytics team

International case study: Digitalising L&D at Faurecia