Technology partners

How technology partners can help fill the talent gap in the public sector

Simon Collinson, UK public sector lead at Salesforce, discusses how technology partners can help fill the public sector talent gap, including looking at healthcare transformation

The UK currently faces a gap between accelerated digital transformation and the digital skills needed for the jobs of today and tomorrow. By 2030, nine out of 10 UK workers will need to learn new skills to perform their current roles competently, at a cost of £1.3billion a year. It depends our research in partnership with IDCwhich clearly shows that without appropriate action to upgrade and re-skill the workforce, we run the risk of undermining economic growth.

This year, 65% of global GDP will be driven by digitized products and services and the lack of skilled tech workers will hamper economic growth and resilience. Closing the gap is an imperative that will require the partnership of business and government to ensure everyone has the opportunity to participate in the digital economy.

The Great Resignation and Digital Skills

The public sector is under increased pressure to digitally transform due to the pandemic and keep pace with digital-centric services. In this world of work from anywhere, the job market is at a crossroads and many are looking to change roles or careers. In order to close the digital skills gap, we need to look beyond the traditional talent pool, opening ourselves instead to untapped pockets of new talent.

To help attract and retain the right people, government needs to show it is moving away from legacy computing and embracing cloud, social and mobile – these are the technologies people want to work with and build their career, to fundamentally change the lives of our fellow citizens.

The good news is that we are already starting to see a wave of talented private sector employees coming forward and actively choosing to pursue a career in the public sector. The downside is that people often rely on personal networks to navigate the difficult public sector recruitment process. This can exclude talent without these networks and act as a barrier to getting the right people into the right roles.

In order to close the digital skills gap, the public sector must start from within. By focusing their efforts on developing the entire workforce, public sector organizations can create new opportunities for existing employees looking for new challenges and also demonstrate to external recruits that a career in the public sector offers many opportunities.

Spotlight on healthcare transformation

Continued widespread innovation will mean that basic digital skills become as important as reading and writing. In reality, two-thirds of job seekers nationwide believe they would benefit from digital skills training. In healthcare, it’s not just front-line medical workers who have to adapt to new technologies. Digital transformation will affect everyone, from managers, support staff and other healthcare professionals, to social workers and family caregivers.

In the age of telehealth, the digital delivery of medical assistance and advisory services by healthcare providers has demonstrated that transformational projects that once took years could be undertaken in months. We’ve seen healthcare organizations use technology to deliver new services to patients and access specialist consultants from the safety of their homes. By going digital, organizations are completely reinventing their services to be more sustainable and flexible for patients, staff and constituents.

Digital technologies will help bring patients and care teams closer together and meet the needs of an ever-changing system. But to see the true value, a skilled, digitally minded workforce is needed.

Respond to the need for training and retraining

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addressing the skills challenge, but government and business must work together as part of the solution. Partnering with vendors who can provide trusted digital expertise, guidance, and training platforms will be essential to help governments and citizens accelerate their commitment to upskilling. For example, Salesforce’s training platform, Trailhead, takes participants from low-tech skills to skilled digital roles in as little as six months. These programs can be designed to help identify, match, equip and empower sections of a population with key skills that align with government priorities.

Using low-code platforms will help attract a new audience to the government talent pool. The benefits of improving digital skills with low-code platforms are that former service managers, administrators, customer experience managers, and marketing managers can all be equipped for these new digital roles. A “clicks not code” approach enables people without formal technical training to pursue digital careers.

To remain competitive on the global stage, the UK public sector must take the lead in improving digital literacy at all levels – not just in advanced areas like digital quantum computing and AI, but in all aspects businesses and society. To effect this change, we need to focus on digitally upskilling our citizens across all sectors and from all walks of life.

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