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Digital Skills Gap

Research on Digital Skills, Digital Literacy, and the Future of Work

September 20, 2017 by Emsi Burning Glass

Emsi Burning Glass has conducted a series of studies for Capital One on the digital skills employers demand from workers, and how to close the digital skills gap. We’ve found in the middle-skill job market, the world is increasingly divided between the jobs that demand digital skills and the ones that don’t—and the ones that don’t are falling behind.

Download our latest report: The Digital Edge: Middle-Skill Workers and Careers

Much of the debate over technology in the workforce has focused on sophisticated skills, such as writing code for leading information technology companies. But the more significant impact on the middle-skill job market is in the humbler world of digital literacy using everyday software: spreadsheets and word processing, programs for medical billing and running computerized drill presses to build information-based careers. To a large extent, a job seeker without the ability to use this software won’t even get in the door.

Our Findings Uncovered:

  • More than 8 in 10 middle-skill jobs (82%) require digital skills, a 4% increase since 2014. These working skills developed from the need to better both the customer and operational side of all businesses.
  • Digitally intensive middle-skill jobs pay more than non-digital middle-skill jobs: Overall, middle-skill jobs that demand digital skills average $20 per hour; those with advanced digital skills such as IT networking or CRM software can command salaries at or above $28/hour, which places them in the top quartile of all earners.
  • Digital skills provide a career pathway into middle- and high-skill jobs. Allowing employees more opportunity to build their career path towards their goal position and salary.
  • Digital middle-skill jobs represent roughly 38% of overall job postings – but some markets afford more opportunity than others. In examining the top 10 metropolitan areas, we found some regions have higher proportions of these jobs than others, ranging from 33% in San Francisco and Washington D.C. to 42% in Houston.
  • Non-digitally intensive middle-skill opportunities are mostly restricted to transportation, construction, and installation/repair jobs.  Put another way, digital skills and digital literacy have become a minimum standard for middle-skill jobs in most other sectors.

This research was funded by Capital One, which announced a $150 million Future Edge initiative to fund community grants and initiatives over the next five years to help empower more Americans to succeed in an ever-changing digitally-driven economy.

Find out more about Future Edge.

Download “Crunched by the Numbers: The Digital Skills Gap in the Workforce”.

Emsi Burning Glass

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