UK digital gap is set to grow as staff find training 'useless and boring'

08 January 2018

UK employers are increasingly concerned by a digital talent gap, despite the country hosting a higher-than-average proportion of digitally skilled workers. Almost six in every ten organisations in Britain say they are currently working to respond to such a skills gap, as they bid to successfully transform their business models. However, high numbers of staff feel that their company’s training efforts are not enough, meaning that the gap may continue to grow.

Digital transformation consulting has become a $23 billion industry in recent years, as new innovations have rapidly become integral parts of any successful business model.This is due, in part, to the pressure of ensuring that staff at a business have the correct skills to make effective use of digital technology, which has become an essential aspect of the digital transformation process.

The majority of digital transformations still struggle to help companies hit their maximum growth potential, as a talent gap hinders efforts. While this has been treated as a matter for HR departments alone to tackle, previously, a new joint report from career website LinkedIn and consulting firm Capgemini suggests that all areas of a business must coordinate to tackle a skills gap, which is presently widening rather than shrinking.

Percentage of organizations responding to widening of digital talent gap - by geography

Analysts took on a worldwide, cross-sector research programme, looking into the demand and supply of digital talent via LinkedIn’s global database of jobs, firms and professionals. Capgemini’s researchers surveyed over 1,200 people to gain the perspectives of both employees and leadership teams and also interviewed human resource and talent executives within organisations as well as digital and technology recruiters, in order to understand demand and supply for specific digital skills and digital roles.

In order to define ‘digital talent’, Capgemini earmarked 24 hard digital skills and eight soft digital skills. The researchers created a profile for a typical ‘digital talent employee’, who is proficient in at least one of the 24 hard digital skills and in at least four of the eight soft digital skills. Such employees constitute over half (56%) of those surveyed.

The digital talent-gap is widening on a global basis. Every second organisation that Capgemini surveyed acknowledged this fact, with 54% also agreeing that the gap is hampering their transformation programs, and that their organisation has lost competitive advantage because of a shortage of digital talent. UK organisations were above average in acknowledging the yawning talent shortage, with 57% of British entities stating that the gap had widened in the past two years.

India has the highest proportion of digital talent

Proportionally, however, the UK has a higher than average rate of digital talent, which would likely meet this demand if used properly. Globally, 56% of the workforce are considered digital talents, while in Britain 62% were. This places the UK ahead of the Netherlands (61%) – and well ahead of the United States (55%) and key Eurozone rivals of France (48%) and Germany (44%), who all fell below the global average of digital skills.

Growing gap

One of the key driving forces of the widening skills gap, globally, is the lack of sufficient training presently offered for employees. 42% of employees currently believe their organisation’s training programmes are “useless and boring”. This portion is even higher among individuals defined as digital talent, with 45% also describing employers’ efforts at training in damning terms. Both figures are roughly in-line with a recent Civil Service survey, which showed 43% of Whitehall staff still do not feel their digital training has been sufficient, often being forced to take their up-skilling into their own hands.

Subsequently, the digital skills shortage is likely to grow, according to a large number of employees. Overall, 29% of employees believe their skill set is already redundant, or will become so in the next one to two years, while over a third (38%) believe their skill set will be redundant in the next four to five years. Surprisingly perhaps, this percentage is even higher among the ‘digital native’ generations Y and Z. 47% of those emerging workforce members believed that their skills would be surplus to requirements in the coming era.

Employees across countries and industries believe their skill set is or will be redundant

Digitally talented individuals are even more anxious about their skills. A third, or 33% of them, believe their skill set is redundant now or will be in the next one to two years, while 44% believe their skill set will be redundant in the next four to five years.

British employees are also above average when it comes to anxiety surrounding their skills. 32% believe their skills will become redundant in the next two years, while 39% foresee that scenario arising in the coming five year period. This potentially means that British businesses could miss out on the vast potential of automation and digitisation of their operations. While employers might be relying on such processes to fulfil certain roles entirely, research suggests that only 5% of jobscould be fully automated, with the rest relying on human talent for execution in collaboration with technology. Without significant efforts to address the growth in digital talent gaps, companies are likely to fail in their bids to get the most out of the new innovations implemented in their organisations.



Four ways digitalisation is transforming car brands and dealers

16 April 2019

From changing expectations from the customer to new stakeholders entering the industry, the digital transformation of global automotive industry means it is facing the wholesale transformation of its business model. In a new white paper, global consulting partnership Cordence Worldwide has highlighted four major digital trends that are transforming the relationships between car brands and dealers with consumers.

With digital transformation drives booming across the industrial spectrum, automotive groups are no different in having commenced large digital transformation programmes to improve productivity, efficiency, and ultimately profitability. Falling sales figures mean the automotive sector is facing an increasingly difficult road ahead, something which means companies in the market are even more hard pressed to find new ways to improve their bottom lines.

While it offers major opportunities, the industry’s move to digitalise is not without complications. It has triggered a series of major internal changes, which have presented automotive entities with the challenge of becoming a “customer-oriented” industry. A new report from Cordence Worldwide – a global management consulting partnership present in more than 20 countries – has explored how automotive companies are navigating the rapidly changing nature of digital business.

New business models

The level of change likely to be wrought on the automotive industry by digitalisation is hard to overstate. Automation could well lead to significant reductions in the number of accidents, higher vehicle utilisation and lower pollution levels, while leading to a $2.1 trillion change in traditional revenues, with up to $4.3 trillion in new revenue openings arising by 2030.

As a result of this colossal opportunity, it is easy to see why almost all automotive groups now have digital departments, with generally strong communication within the digital transformation and the customer approach. The changes to society which this may have are potentially distracting automotive firms from the change it is leading to in its own companies though, according to Cordence’s paper.

The automotive market is dead, long live the mobility market

Because of this, the sector’s business model is set to transform over the coming decades. With digitalisation speeding up the appearance of concepts such as car-sharing, a subscription package model will likely become more palatable. At the same time, car and ride-sharing models will cater to the sustainability criteria of millennials, who will rapidly become one of the automotive market’s leading consumer demographics in the coming years.

Antoine Glutron – a Managing Consultant with Cordence member Oresys, and the report’s author – said of the situation, “These ‘old school industries’ are now working on creating new opportunities, but in so-doing are facing challenges and threats: new jobs, new technologies, new ecosystem of partners, necessary reorganisation, different relationship with customers, and even new businesses. The customer approach topic is in fact a real challenge for car companies as it implies changing their business model and adjusting their mind-set to address the customer 4.0: from product-centric to customer-centric, from car manufacturer to service provider.”

Digital customer experience

In the hyper-competitive age of the internet, even top companies face an uphill challenge when it comes to holding onto customers through brand loyalty. Digital disruption has resulted in changes to consumer behaviour, which is forcing a range of marketing strategists to reconsider their old, possibly out-dated strategies. As modern customers wield an increasingly impressive array of digital tools and online databases, they and are now able to quickly and conveniently compare prices, check availability and read product reviews.

The automotive sector is no exception to this trend, according to the study. In order to adapt to the needs of the so-called ‘customer 4.0’, car companies will increasingly need to change their business model and move away from product-centric companies to customer-centric ones, from car manufacturers to service providers.

Glutron explained, “As an automotive company, you can no longer expect customer loyalty simply with good products; you must conquer and re-conquer a customer that “consumes” your service. The offer now has to be global, digital and personalised. Your offer has to be adapted to this customer’s needs at any given moment. A key issue related to data control is to build customer loyalty by creating a customer experience 'tailored' throughout the cycle of use of the 'car product': purchase, driving, maintenance and trade-in of the vehicle.”

One way in which the sector may be able to benefit from this desire for a tailored experience is via connectivity. Consumers are generally positive about new connective features for automobiles, and many are even willing to pay upfront for infotainment, emergency and maintenance services. Chinese consumers, where the connected car market is set to hit $216 billion, are already particularly interested in paying a little more for navigation and diagnostic features in their future new car. This can also enable automotive companies to exploit a rich vein of customer data, enabling them to rapidly tailor their offerings to consumer behaviour.

New automotive segments

Digital transformation has also brought with it the rise of completely new application areas. As mentioned earlier, the most well-known example is the autonomous or self-driving car, where the last steps forward were not taken by major automotive groups but by technology companies such as Tesla. While this may have given such firms the edge in the market briefly, a number of keystone automotive names will soon be set to take the plunge into the market themselves, leveraging their car manufacturing prowess and huge production capacities to their advantage.

Before companies rush to invest in this market, however, it is worth their while to remember that the readiness and uptake for such vehicles differs greatly geographically. For example, following a study published in 2018, 92% of Chinese would be ready to buy an autonomous car, compared with only around 35% of drivers in France, Germany and US. Meanwhile, the infrastructure of different nations will also be significantly less accommodating of the new technology.

Use digital for steering thr activity

Elsewhere, Cordence’s analysis has suggested that hooking the cars of tomorrow into the Internet of Things is also likely to see a rapid change in the business model for car maintenance, providing real-time diagnostics for problems. This presents chances for partnerships to improve the connectivity of cars, especially with tech companies; for example, PSA partnered with IBM for a global agreement on services in their vehicle. Meanwhile, data could also be sold to other parties with an interest in this data, such as the government, which could use it to manage traffic levels, or ensure that only adequately maintained vehicles take to the road.

Glutron added, “With the increase in the amount of client data and connected opportunities, the recommendation is to set up data-centric approaches. The value is now in the customer data. The general prerequisites are to rework the data model and the Enterprise Architecture and generally build up a data lake including data from all sources (internal and external, structured and unstructured).”

From automotive to mobility

Relating further to the idea of connectivity, the report claimed that automotive firms must now adjust their models in line with the provision of end-to-end mobility, rather than treating the sale of a car as an end point in their relationship with the customer. In order to realise this transformation, transformations are likely to become more and more important.

A network of partner companies means automotive firms can provide a global mobility experience. As the vehicle is increasingly connected to its environment, new partners can also be cities, governments, and other service providers within the global mobility services industry in which the car brands want to take part.

According to the study, the target is clear. Companies must look to a holistic transport service, offering to move customers from A to B in a unique and pleasant way – otherwise they might as well take public transport. At the same time, they should extend the services reachable “on-board” (especially the enhancement of the connectivity between the car and smartphones or other connected devices), and reach high standards in terms of user experience (online sales, online payment, customised experience during and after the use of the car).

Concluding the report, Glutron stated, “These mobility market transformations could be considered a threat for the car manufacturers. Quite the opposite: if they take up the challenge and review their business model so that they become the service provider – communicating no longer to a driver but to a ‘mobility customer’ – they can then take advantage of their expertise and their position as a historical player. The most convenient means of transport are cars, and building a car is highly-skilled work.”