Posted June 13, 2016 | Digital Media, Recruitment Industry | No Comments »

Digital Skills and the Need for Continued Professional Development

The technology industry in Scotland still suffers from a skills shortage which holds businesses back. The BBC today reported that The UK needs another 745,000 workers with digital skills by 2017 and the skills gap costs economy around £63bn a year in lost income. As a leading technology recruitment consultancy, we work closely with businesses and know all too well which skills are in high demand, across digital, software and sales & marketing. We’re pleased to work with local colleges and educational institutions to help fill this gap and work towards producing graduates who have the necessary skills for the industry.

We’ve recently worked with the City of Glasgow College to help develop a range of courses and workshops designed to meet the digital needs of the industry. Enigma People Solutions Director, David Mains was also delighted to join the Creative Technologies Industry Advisory Board at the University of the West of Scotland with the same intention – to ultimately help fill the skills gap.

Addressing the skills issue at college and university level is essential; however it isn’t the only solution.

Students and candidates have a responsibility to keep their skills up to date and relevant. With technology advancing as quickly as it is, graduates coming out of university will need to continue their skills development especially in the first few years of working. Employers have a responsibility to create working environments that foster continued development, be it through professional industry qualifications or simply on the job experience. They also have a responsibility to hire the best candidates they can find, whether they have all of the relevant skills or not. Too often, we see clients wait to hire in search of a “perfect candidate”. However in this technology skills market where availability of candidates is low and competition for them is high, it is not always in the best interest to wait or compete in a salary war for candidates. We often urge our clients to invest in talent and develop their employees, rather than always expecting a “plug and play” candidate during recruitment.

When I joined Enigma People my skills lay in offline marketing (mainly event organisation). Through on the job training and self study I have learned many of the digital skills which employers demand today. So much so, I was in a position to help advise the City of Glasgow College on what they should teach the next wave of digital marketers! I took an SEO/PPC course with one of Glasgow’s leading Digital Agencies, taught myself basic HTML through Codecademy, I recently completed Google’s online marketing training for digital skills – The Digital Garage, and I am also working towards gaining the Google Analytics Academy Qualifications. I also ensure to keep these skills up to date by attending regular Digital Skills workshops. None of this would have been possible had I not had the opportunity to develop my skills on the job.

IMAG79684

In order to meet the current skills demands of the industry, employers need to offer their employees, and prospective employees, more opportunities like this. Hire candidates who require some training instead of hiring no one, provide on the job training from senior employees, and provide opportunities for continued professional development through courses and workshops. The good news is there is an ever increasing number of initiatives, workshops and training opportunities available across the technology industry to help fill skills gaps, such as the free Google courses mentioned earlier, CodeClan, YouTrain, Business Gateway’s Digital Boost and not to mention The new Digital Xtra fund from Skills Development Scotland to help tackle the issue from school age.

Bridging the skills gap in Scotland’s technology industry won’t be solved overnight, however a joint effort between schools, colleges, employers and employees is starting to make real progress towards a common goal. What we believe will help further is more students/ employees to take learning into their own hands with self learning, and businesses to give employees increased opportunities to develop skills. If your looking advice on hiring digital talent, or looking to discuss what skills employers look for, get in touch at hello@enigmapeople.com or call 0141 332 4422.


Enigma People is an award winning technology recruitment consultancy. Visit our job search page for the latest vacancies in digital, electronics and software in Scotland. Or follow us on Twitter @enigmapeople and LinkedIn.

Subscribe or follow for the latest job vacancies