The tech skills gap has been hurting industries for more than a decade. Human resources might receive hundreds of resumes from people who want to fill a position. Unfortunately, hiring managers rarely find qualified applicants. The job postings sit, unfilled, for months or longer.
The essential trend towards remote work during the Covid-19 pandemic has made technological skills gaps even more problematic. With more people working from home, they have less access to experienced IT professionals who can solve their problems.
What Causes the Tech Skills Gap?
The tech skills gap largely exists because most people cannot keep up with technology’s rapid evolution. By the time employees learn how to use a new tool, an even newer option has replaced it. The cycle creates a discouraging situation for many people.
As more people moved to remote work at the beginning of 2020, it became obvious that they lacked even the basic skills needed to thrive in a technology-driven environment. Many employees do not know how to follow basic security standards that make it safe for them to access company networks from home. This puts companies at serious risk of losing data, including client credit card and bank account numbers, to cybercriminals.
The fact of the matter is that someone working outside of technology hasn’t had many opportunities to learn the necessary skills for IT security and efficiency. For example, a marketing professional probably doesn’t spend much time thinking about security. They just want to know how to use data analytics tools well enough to do their jobs.
Employers Must Embrace Continuous Learning
Very few technical and non-technical job seekers will pursue emerging technologies that make them more desirable to employers. Many of them do not know what skills they should learn. Others don’t feel comfortable spending money to learn skills that could get replaced within a few years.
Employees are correct. Technology will keep at such a rapid rate that many of the things they learn today will become irrelevant within a decade. Java offers a good example. Twenty years ago, companies wanted to hire people with Java proficiency. Java’s vulnerabilities, however, have made it a less desirable skill. Some browsers won’t even process the language, making it nearly useless to some organizations.
Continuous Learning Offers Long-Term Solutions
Continuous learning offers long-term solutions that could lead to a narrower tech gap. Instead of focusing on niche skills, continuous learning can help employees build general knowledge that they can apply to emerging technologies. Knowing Java might not impress hiring managers today, but showing that you know how to learn a coding language shows you take a tech-savvy approach to work. Applying your current skills to a new language could make you an indispensable employee.
Companies also need to realize that technology will not stop moving forward. If technology keeps evolving, employees will need opportunities to learn.
Continuous Learning Benefits Companies and Employees
With continuous learning, you can teach employees how to use the latest tools for their jobs. You can also teach them the skills they need to improve your organization’s security. Paying for continuous learning may sound expensive, but it costs a lot less than a security breach that damages the companies reputation, forces them to reassess their protocols, and delays operations as they inform affected clients of the breach. Depending on several factors, a data breach can cost anywhere from $1.25 million to $8.19 million.
It makes more sense to spend money on skills development that rehabilitating a tarnished reputation.
Other benefits of companies paying for continuous learning include:
- Improved efficiency from employees who know how to get more from their tools.
- Better market positions as other companies struggle to keep up with your achievements.
- Faster development of products and services that clients want to buy.
- Dedicated employees who appreciate the opportunities to keep learning new skills.
Continuous learning must become an essential part of business success. You do not have time to put it aside and wait for a better opportunity. The sooner you invest in your employees, the sooner everyone will reap the benefits.