Digital Fluency in Recruitment: Bridging the Talent Divide

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Seeing that digitalization is the direction that technology is advancing towards, there is a need to address the disparity between the digital skills required by recruiters and the actual skills possessed by the workforce. It’s crucial to see this gap because it not only affects employees and those looking for jobs, but also the businesses themselves and the way productivity and competitiveness are managed.

By recognizing areas where resources are insufficient or where training and more proficiency is necessary, recruiters can effectively leverage these emerging technologies in their processes. This gives applicants and employees an equal opportunity towards digital inclusion and equity. We will analyze areas and reasons for this disconnect within digital transformation as well as what the feasible solutions are.

Why is There a Digital Gap?

We can see that this gap manifests itself for reasons that are sometimes interconnected. Some examples include:

  • Rapid Technological Advancement: It’s clear that technology is growing at an exponential rate, to the point where companies and institutions may even lag in their adaptability. This poses a challenge for companies, especially ones that aren’t able to compensate for these technological innovations. Being able to balance these changes with responsibility and caution for the future is necessary to maintain competitiveness. 
  • Resistance to Change: With new technology comes resistance to embracing these new techniques for conducting business. This resistance could come from a fear of job displacement, lack of awareness, generational differences, or even a preference for traditional methods. However, for recruiters, that means being able to understand the importance of digital skills and the ways to apply those tools to enhance the recruiting process. 
  • Lack of Access to Training / Education Programs: The lack of resources for these higher-quality education and training programs is what keeps candidates from being able to find jobs suitable for their skill set. Especially in underserved and underdeveloped communities, there are fewer learning opportunities and less accessibility because of access to reliable internet connection or transportation to the training. This can contribute to creating more barriers and make it difficult to truly capture the best candidates from an accurately represented group of people.
  • Shifting Job Requirements: What companies are looking for nowadays has changed because of market demands as well as companies trying to keep up with the modernization. Many jobs nowadays require a mix of technical and digital skills, leaving the existing workforce needing to be updated in their skills. Some industries are adapting more towards automation, leaving workers displaced. However, with new technological advancements, new roles are created that specialize in these digital skills. For example, AI specialists, data analysts, user experience designers, and cybersecurity specialists are just a few.

Regardless of the reasons for a digital gap, we can see that there is one, and it cannot simply be ignored. Rather, we need to deeply analyze what areas this gap arises in and the following steps that should be taken.

Where is the Digital Gap?

Let’s take a look at specifically where there is a digital gap:

  • Social Media Proficiency - Social media and the constant evolution of platforms introduce new tools, features, and algorithms. Audience behavior and preferences change as well, requiring expertise in consumer behavior, social media trends, and market research tactics, all of which may not be something that companies are well versed in. To not be tossed to and fro by the waves of social media, steps should be taken to make continuous updates, find ways to increase engagement, and effectively use data from analytics.
  • Data Literacy - This digital skill can be categorized into technical and non-technical skills. Technical skills can include being competent in areas like:
    • Analytics - identification, experimentation, collection, analysis, and interpretation of data
    • Programming languages - Python, SQL, Java, C++
    • Data management - integration, mining, warehousing, security, processing, etc. 
    • Data visualization tools - Tableau, Infogram, Chartblocks, FusionCharts, Datawrapper

There is also a need for non-technical skills like critical thinking, problem-solving, communication, decision-making, leadership, teamwork, and adaptability.

  • Candidate Experience - Both candidates and recruiters must invest time and money into digital literacy education and training. Many reasons exist for why there is a gap including:
    • Online application systems: Job applications require navigating through the hurdles of digital forms, uploading resumes/documents, and even occasional assessments. 
    • Virtual interviews: Candidates may be asked to participate in virtual interviews or training and those who are not adept with communication tools are more likely to struggle and face challenges during this part of the application process. 
    • Social media & personal branding: Networking is really big nowadays and companies may look for a strong online presence from candidates. However, those not active on social media or networking platforms miss out on opportunities to show their skills and this puts them at a disadvantage.

There are many other areas not mentioned where there may be a skills gap, but getting a grip on these issues will help companies foster economic growth and improve employment opportunities. At the end of the day, acquiring and retaining top talent with a diverse array of skill sets should be the goal, and we can only do that by addressing the gap and making decisions to better promote and accommodate digital initiatives.

What Does This Mean For Me or My Company?

As an Individual: 

  • Assess your current skills and take advantage of online resources 
  • Gain practical experience through internships, volunteer work, freelance opportunities, and real-world projects 
  • Advocate for digital skills education in your community, institutions, and workplace

As a Company:

  • Offer and invest in specialized programs and training for digital skills 
  • Create a culture of coaching and mentorship from experienced individuals 
  • Partner with educational institutions or training organizations 
  • Consider offering entry-level positions, internships, or apprenticeships for those with strong potential but limited experience
  • Lead by example, it’s the best thing you can do for your employees

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