Views and announcements

Fujitsu: Addressing the digital skills gap challenge

  • With news of skills shortages never far from the headlines, David Clements, Client Director Northern Ireland at leading Digital Transformation organisation Fujitsu, explores the digital skills challenge facing businesses and how to bridge the gap

    Digital services are becoming ever more integral to our daily lives, whether it’s collaborating with colleagues from remote locations or linking smart technology with our home appliances or manufacturing processes, the ability to use digital gives us new opportunities to work and live in a faster and smarter way.

    It’s no surprise then that the need for businesses to embrace digital is more pertinent than ever. But what does the future pipeline for a diverse and digitally-skilled workforce to support this evolution look like, and what digital technology should businesses be focused on?

    The future of tech 

    The sheer speed and extent of business change makes constant innovation essential. Intensifying competition, advancing technologies, talent acquisition and increasingly diverse customers have created a marketplace where every organisation must create new opportunities and be ready to address changes to the status-quo, as we have witnessed during the Covid-19 pandemic. 

    Digital is not a single technology, but rather a set of connected technologies such as cloud, mobile, Internet of Things (IoT), analytics, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and supporting security technologies. We should not view future technology as simply new products we give to staff or install in premises; instead, it is the technology and processes - the digital transformation - we incorporate into the heart of business and society.

    Our own independent research into the digital landscape, The Global Digital Transformation Survey Report (2019), investigates how well organisations are delivering on digital transformation, with 87% of those surveyed already on their digital journey. Analysis of the relative success of companies delivering outcomes from digital transformation reveals that six organisational capabilities are important to deliver positive outcomes: Leadership, Ecosystem, Empowered People, A Culture of Agility, Value from Data and Business Integration. We call these digital muscles. Intelligent innovation therefore must filter through to every area of business, from new product and service development to customer outreach. Flexing these digital muscles is an essential way for you to meet new opportunities, markets, and audiences head-on. 

    Empowering people to drive success 

    As we move further into this age of digital transformation, it is vital people are digitally-skilled to cope with - and aid - this changing environment. The latest Northern Ireland Skills Barometer Report says that science and technology professionals will provide the most job opportunities over the coming decade, requiring over 2,000 people from outside the existing labour market; so how do we address this gap? One pillar of our outreach is to focus on inspiring young talent, and to do this, we need to support our teachers and showcase inspiring role models. At Fujitsu, we work closely with organisations such as BringITOn to educate and inform Year 11 and 12 pupils about the various career paths and learning development opportunities in an evolving IT sector through educational fairs, school visits and most recently, virtual learning sessions. 

    We also co-create with Belfast Met to shape apprenticeship programmes to ensure the next generation are studying not only the topics most pertinent to the future of the IT industry, but that they gain the transferrable skills to help futureproof their careers. Along with school leavers and graduates, apprentices are also attractive to those looking to change career paths or to move into a different industry. Indeed, many of our own employees started their careers in accountancy, pharmacy, retail and even physics. While apprentices and graduates benefit from gaining practical, hands-on experience, we benefit from their diverse background and varying experience.  

    I’m proud to say that Fujitsu’s diversity and inclusion agenda has been benchmarked for its excellence in the industry as we once again are named in The Times Top 50 Employers for Women, recognising that our gender support and diversity programmes are fully embedded in how we think and how we deliver services. It is this diversity that generates additional creativity, which is crucial to enhancing innovation.  

    With the digital sector now making up over 7% of the UK’s GDP, we need to invest at the very beginning of the digital journey to help develop the right skills to support the future digital economy. By promoting digital inclusion, diversity, and empowering people with technology through education, the UK stands to lead Europe in digital adoption.

    This article first appeared in the 'Future Tech' edition of the Sync NI magazine and it can be found here.

    About the author

    An article that is attributed to Sync NI Team has either involved multiple authors, written by a contributor or the main body of content is from a press release.

    Got a news-related tip you’d like to see covered on Sync NI? Email the editorial team for our consideration.

    Sign up now for a FREE weekly newsletter showcasing the latest news, jobs and events in NI’s tech sector.

Share this story