Digital skills of some kind are already a prerequisite for most jobs in finance – and there is little doubt the need for digital expertise will continue to grow across all sectors over the next 10 years.
Honing your digital skills can also help you to progress in your career, according to AAT’s recent survey of 2,000 workers from across the UK.
Of those surveyed, 23% chose digital skills as one of the top five skills you will need to get high paying jobs in the future.
As part of our AATPowerUp series we take a closer look at why digital skills are so valuable. We suggest some ways you can develop your skill set to improve your chances of landing a job with a high salary.
The future of digital
IT giant Microsoft’s figures indicate that 90% of jobs will require some form of digital skills within the next two decades.
Paul Yates, a director at global recruitment consultancy Harvey Nash, agrees that digital skills are becoming more and more important in the modern workplace.
“There is no doubt that employees today are expected to have more digital skills than they were even a few years ago,” he said.
“If you are looking at accountancy roles, for example, you will need to be able to use financial software programmes.”
Three reasons companies want people with digital skills
Higher productivity levels
With the right training, employees can use digital technology to become more productive.
Digital documents, for example, can be created, stored and accessed more efficiently than printed versions, but only if employees know how to use them.
Innovative working practices
Technological advances facilitate the introduction of new, more effective ways of working.
Examples of this include video conference calls and cloud-based applications.
Having the digital skills to take advantage of these innovations, and help others to do the same, will make you a more attractive candidate for leadership roles.
Improved customer/client relations
Today, businesses need to engage with their customers and build relationships via a diverse range of channels, including websites and social media.
Mastering online marketing and related digital skills will therefore make you a more valuable asset, which should in turn allow you to move up to a higher pay grade.
Three ways you can improve your digital skills
- Identify the skills you need
Different roles require different digital capabilities, but there are some universally useful skills.
Nick Bass, global HR director at communications agency Isobar, said: “Whatever you do, your role is bound to involve data because it underpins everything we do.
“So skills such as knowing how to manipulate data are important across the board.”
If you want to move up the ladder on the strength of your digital skills, wide-ranging knowledge is also likely to be a bonus.
“I think any employer will value an employee who has an understanding of a variety of digital skills, coupled with deeper knowledge in a certain area,” Bass said.
- Research new technological trends
In this fast-paced digital world, it’s important to regularly update your skills to avoid them becoming obsolete.
“You need to keep your finger on the pulse and keep your skills up to date or, if possible, ahead of the game,” Bass said.
It’s also a good idea to keep up with technological trends by reading blogs and newsletters so you are prepared for any big changes to how you do your job.
This is known as “future proofing” your career.
“Look at the industry you work in and try to work out what could be automated in the future,” Yates advised. “If you work for a car manufacturer, for example, you might want to concentrate on the skills you will need to manage a robotic assembly line.”
- Sign up to a digital skills course
As explained above, you have to keep your digital skills up to date to remain relevant and have a better chance of being chosen for well-paid positions.
So even if you have taken course in the past, updating your knowledge or learning about a new sphere, is a good way to improve your chances of becoming a high earner. “We need to embrace the concept of lifelong learning, especially when it comes to digital skills,” Bass added.
Three ways you can take action now
- Research the technology that is likely to shape your dream job in the future
- Book a course that will help you develop the relevant digital skills
- Consult AAT’s e-learning portal for tutorials and workshops on your chosen topic
Jessica Bown is an award-winning freelance journalist and editor.