MELBOURNE, 7 March 2023 – A new study by RMIT Online and Deloitte Access Economics reveals the digital skills gap is costing Australian businesses $3.1 billion annually, but closing the current digital skills gap would take an investment of $1.5 billion.
Key points from the report:
Large Australian businesses need to invest $1.5 billion in digital skills training to address the existing skills gap
80% of business leaders expect to hire as many employees as they did last year despite predictions of slow economic growth
Three in five (58%) surveyed Australian employers still lack one or more of the digital skills they require to do business
According to the study, the skills shortage impacts companies in several ways, including loss of business, increased outsourcing costs, and reduced productivity. However, despite predictions of slow economic growth and inflation impacts, 80% of business leaders expect to hire at least as many people in 2023 as they did last year.
“While the upfront cost to solve our upskilling and reskilling crisis may seem high, our research shows investing in training is necessary for Australian businesses to reap substantial and long-lasting benefits, and to mitigate the impact of the digital skills gap."- Claire Hopkins
To address the skills gap, almost half (48%) of surveyed employers prefer upskilling or reskilling existing employees, over hiring externally, as they believe internal solutions generate additional benefits such as increasing retention, strengthening team culture, and raising cost-effectiveness.
Employees who received promotions in the past year, on average, spent 50% more time on training than those who did not receive a promotion.
While a third of employers think employees need to refresh their skills at least every three months, employees cited barriers to training such as lack of time, high cost, and lack of support from their employers. Additionally, the most valuable types of training for employees were mandatory on-the-job training, formal qualifications, and formal certifications.
The study also revealed;
24% of employers consider the frequency of engagement in training, upskilling, or reskilling opportunities when promoting internally
Companies anticipate a continued demand for soft skills, with employees identifying leadership as the most critical skill in the next five years (27%) and employers identifying communication and collaboration (14%)
The top reason cited by employees for being attracted to a company is higher pay (16%), followed by flexible working hours (12%)
Employers report increased pay and remuneration is the most effective tool to attract new staff (21%), followed by offering greater flexibility in location (17%) and hours (15%)
Workplace culture (33%) and not feeling valued by management (33%) are among the top reasons employees intend to leave their job.
To learn more, download and read the report here: https://online.rmit.edu.au/insights/2023