mind the skills gap in 2018
27 July 2018

The skills gap in 2018: why, where and what does the future hold?

The tech industry is developing at a break-neck speed. While this is great for consumers and entrepreneurs, it does pose some problems. For many companies, there is a constant need to hire highly skilled staff and continually upskill existing staff members. For job seekers and those in tertiary study, there is pressure to continually add skills to their existing repertoire. Universities struggle to develop coursework that stays relevant in the long term. Companies are struggling to hire employees with the skills they need. But what is the skills gap in 2018? And which areas are most impacted by it?

Why is there a skills gap in 2018?

There are many factors that have led to the growing fears of the skills gap. Technology is evolving at such a fast rate that people are struggling to keep up, and it might be said that female graduates see tech as a male industry. As technology evolves, so too must the skills of tech workers. However, while there are those who are managing to keep up, many are falling behind. There are numerous accounts of the lack of diversity and representation within the industry. This means that potential workers are put off working in tech before they even get there, limiting the number of people there are to upskill.

Which sectors are struggling the most?

The cybersecurity industry is one of the industries most impacted by the skills gap in 2018, as we have touched on in a previous blog. Without workers, companies are more vulnerable to the threats of and struggle to pre-empt or react to an attack. It’s not just cybersecurity that’s struggling though, more than 50% of companies report that they are facing challenges due to the skills gap. There is a lack of developers, designers and even digital marketers.

How can we change this?

The biggest step to tackling the skills gap is education. Companies are reporting jobs staying vacant for over 12 weeks, due to a lack of qualified candidates. To see change, companies need to collaborate with educational institutions to help mould the candidates that they need. Currently, the majority of companies place the onus on universities, rather than investing in students directly. Another solution is to invest more in existing employees. By upskilling junior staff, there is a clear pipeline of potential candidates for more skilled positions in future.

Looking ahead

The skills gap is predicted to be the biggest hamper to growth in 2018. As technology is still in such a rapid phase of development, candidates will struggle to keep up. While a shake-up of the education system is inevitable, this probably won’t influence the gap for at least five-ten years. In a report by Agilitas, we see that C-Suite executives believe the way to shrink the gap by 2020, is to upskill and develop existing staff. While this will undoubtedly narrow the gap, it is unlikely to be a plug altogether. Though, combined with an educational review and employing highly skilled migrants where necessary, it may be enough to stave off a slump.