The pandemics has pointed out both to the big corporates and to the SMI the urgency of technological innovation and to foster the new skills especially in the digital area to update the employees' knowledge and to respond to the lack of professionals on the market. Therefore, how one can overcome the skill gap and the skill mismatch? Which is the winning scenario?

According to the report “The future of Jobs 2020" by World Economic Forum (WEF) in 2030 9 out of 10 jobs will require an advanced digital expertise. The Gartner Research reports that 58% of the workforce will require a new type of skills. The research is also pointing out that since 2017 the total number of the researched skills per single job opening has increased by 10% year over year, while 1 out of 3 skills presented in a job listings in IT, finance or sales sectors is already obsolete. 

What do digital skills exactly mean? The European Parliament gave a definition to this term back in 2006: Digital skills mean knowing to use freely and cautiously the technologies of the Information Society Technologies (IST) for work, free time and communication. The knowledge is supported by a basic ability to use ICT (Information and Communication technologies), in particular the use of the computer to recover, evaluate, store, produce, present and exchange the information and to communicate and participate to the collaborative networks via Internet.

Usually Digital skills required for work can be split in two categories: Digital hard skills and Digital soft skills. The former can be obtained by taking a course or getting a degree. These skills are usually quantifiable and refer to the knowledge of programming languages. Nowadays the skills are also strictly related to the knowledge of Social Media, Mobile, Analytics, Cloud, Big Data, artificial intelligence, robotics, IoT, Cybersecurity.​

By 2030 9 out of 10 jobs will require advanced digital skills. 58% of the workforce will need to develop a new type of expertise. The skills mismatch will lead to 8 thousand billion dollars of GDP missing each year

While the soft skills are the abilities that are cross and related to the relations and the approach that one adopts at the workplace, allowing the person to efficiently use the new digital instruments. It refers to the ways with which one interacts and cooperates and it depends on the culture, the experience and therefore the personality.

We can further summarize that the digital skills can be divided in 4 broader categories: those that are necessary for all the citizens to leverage the social digitalization; the digital skills for the employees to approach the working routine; ICT specific skills that are typical for the technical specialists that work for a private or public sector and finally e-leadership skills that highlight the link to particular digital culture approaches and talents that allow to imagine certain ways of changing and contextualizing them within the company.

Within this perimeter, the companies in Italy (and not only in Italy) are battling against the skill gap, in other words the absence of specialists that has a specific level of digital expertise to perform certain work tasks. While the skill mismatch refers to the employees that has an outdated skill set and means the divide between the employee skills and the skills that are now requested in the working environment.

We are talking not only about academic setting but also about a very feasible effect: the skill mismatch can be translated in 8 thousand billion dollars of GDP missing each year that equals around 6% of the GDP. In the worst-case scenario, it will reach 11% in 2025, which equals to 18 thousand billion dollars worldwide. The estimate says that if we want to keep the pace with the demands of the market then at least 54% of the employees will require an update and to increase significantly the skills and expertise. Around 35% among those within the following 5 years will require an additional 6-month training, 9% - a 6-12 month training, meanwhile 10% will require a more than a year update.

Despite the difficulties, the market continues to be dynamic and the companies have an urge for new people that are qualified to perform complex and specialized work tasks. The jobs with the biggest request will be those that require use of technology like data analyst, SW developers, social media and ecommerce specialists, machine learning and artificial intelligence specialists, automation experts, Human-machine interaction designers, robotics engineers, big data experts or jobs where specific human interaction skills are requested (like customer center employees, salesmen, marketing, training, culture, organization and innovation specialists). One should not underestimate the importance of critical, creative and innovative thinking, emotional intelligence, and complex problem solving and leadership capabilities.  

UnipolTech is a part of the Unipol Group that was recently constituted, confirms since the beginning that all the teams and departments have the specialized digital expertise and technological ability on top of the experience and educational trainings that can be drawn from all the innovative projects. 

The National Plan for the Rise and Resilience has also underlined the importance of the skills requalification. Furthermore, with the action plan for the education 2021-2027 The European Commission promotes the high quality inclusive and accessible digital education.



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