There is a digital skills gap in London, and it’s hurting our economy and our workforce. Companies can’t grow because they can’t find the digital skills they need. Employees are finding themselves not fulfilling their potential because they don’t have the skills that are currently in demand. If you’d like to find out more about the digital skills gap, you can read about it here.
If you’re a small business finding it hard to get hold of the digital skills you need in order to grow, don’t despair. You have a number of options at hand. Let’s look at 5 of them now.
1 – Hire an expert employee
While the digital skills gap certainly exists, people with the digital expertise you need are out there. You could bite the bullet and go out and hire one of them. Get them to audit the digital situation of your business, find out what needs doing, then go and do it.
The main benefit of this option is that you’re immediately going out and solving the problem. You can find the right person with the skills you need.
To find an expert you could place an ad in a newspaper or trade publication. You could also get in touch with a specialist recruitment agency such as Digital Gurus or Futureheads.
The downside is that hiring a new staff member is likely one of the most expensive options. And if demand is particularly high, these experts won’t come cheap.
2 – Train your existing staff in digital skills
Another option is to invest in digital training for your current team.
An advantage of this option is you don’t have to hire new members of staff. Many employees will be keen to learn new sought-after skills. And you can focus on just those skills that your organisation really needs right now. Plus, investing in your team is also likely to increase their loyalty.
To start this process you could look at local training centres which may offer digital skills courses. Another option is formal certification with companies or trade bodies. For example, Google runs certifications for developers and marketers. Finally, there are professional training companies such as Academy Class and Circus Street which run well-reviewed digital training courses for all levels, online and in-person.
On the other hand, this is an investment. There is a cost attached, so if your budget is limited, this may not be an option for you.
3 – Find a volunteer
If there’s a gap, maybe you can find a volunteer to fill it? Do you know anyone who may be able to help you out? Is there someone you know who could build a website, or run your social media, because they want to support your organisation, and boost their CV?
If you’re a charity, take a look at vInspired and Do It. For companies, start with your own network, and you can also try local universities.
Unfortunately, volunteers with digital skills are very difficult to find. They may also leave you halfway through the task, when someone comes along offering actual money for their services!
4 – Hire an intern or digital apprentice
If you can’t find a volunteer, the next step up is a digital intern or apprentice. University students are often looking for internships too boost their CVs, and you can often find some really high quality graduates, particularly if you’re doing something exciting at your organisation. Apprenticeships are more formal, and apprentices will study while they’re working for you.
The benefits here are that you don’t have to pay very much, and you could find a young person loaded with skills, looking for a chance to make a name for themselves and build a portfolio. You may even find a future employee.
You can find interns by asking around local educational institutions, schools and colleges. There are also agencies that specialise in placing digital interns, such as BrighterBox. You could also look at the national Digital Apprenticeshipscheme – maybe the government can help fill your digital skills gap.
The downside is the time investment you’ll have to put into looking after them – especially in complying with the apprenticeship programme. Plus, they may be likely to leave if a better paid job comes along.
5 – Hire a freelancer
If you need a job done properly, it may just be easiest and fastest to hire a freelancer. You could find someone with exactly the skills you need, then pay them to carry out the exact task you want. They can be local to meet with you in person, or work remotely from within the UK or abroad.
The benefits of using freelancers are that you only pay for what you use. You may also find someone terrific, who you can use for other tasks later on.
You can find freelancers by using job boards such as Upwork and People Per Hour.
The trouble with freelancers is that it can be difficult to assess their skills for the first time. And if you never meet in person, and all your communications are fairly transactional, it can be tricky to build up a solid working relationship.
That’s where we can help…
Bonus tip – Crowdskills
We can send quality freelancers straight to your office, for on-site support that doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg!
- Local – our freelancers are nearby, so they can come to your office. Build a relationship and get face-to-face support.
- Low hourly rates – many of our freelancers are recent graduates. They’re great at what they do and extremely cost-effective.
- Flexibility – you can hire for as many or as few hours as you need.
- All digital skills covered – from web development and social media, to graphics and content. Wherever your gap is we can fill it.
For more ideas on bridging the digital skills gap, give us a call us on 0203 504 6465, or request more info here: