It’s a phenomenon that’s holding back growth for companies of all types in London. It’s stifling London’s economy, as well as that of the UK. Talented people are wasting their gifts, while others don’t fulfil their potential.

It’s London’s digital skills gap. But what exactly is it? Who does it affect and how? And, what’s being done about it? In this article, we’ll answer all those questions. We’ll also try to explain what Crowdskills is doing to provide a solution and fill that gap.

 

What is the digital skills gap?

Put simply, the digital skills gap is the difference between supply and demand for technical proficiency in the economy. Currently, companies need digital skills to power their businesses, but there are not enough people with those skills in the job market. This hampers companies’ ability to grow, but it also means there is a growing workforce that doesn’t have the attributes to find new positions.

Recent research by Capgemini and LinkedIn discovered that 54% of companies believe this skills gap is hindering their growth. Companies need people with digital skills to increase their online presence, to run their social media platforms, to set up e-commerce platforms, fight cybercrime and more.

On the employee side, 38% of people believe their skill sets will become redundant within the next 5 years.

 

Plugging the skills gap

It’s proving very difficult for companies to move beyond the digital skills gap. Because workers with digital skills are rare, they are hard to find and expensive to hire. The best people are taken, and they are well looked after.

For smaller businesses, hiring people with digital skills is even more difficult. It’s harder for them to afford to employ new staff, especially now you need to provide workplace pensions. Plus, hiring is time-consuming and comes overloaded with administration.

Companies have tried to solve the problem by taking on apprentices, taking advantage of a government initiative to improve skills in the workforce. However, this isn’t a perfect solution. For the companies, it’s an administrative nightmare to get hold of the government funding, they also don’t have their apprentices all the time, as they’re required to complete off-site training too. 30% of apprentices end up not completing their apprenticeships. The government is taking steps to address this with specific digital apprenticeship schemes. This may prove valuable in the future.

Another way companies have attempted to fill their digital skills deficit is by employing temporary workers through temp agencies. The flexibility of being able to change the number of hours they hire is a huge benefit. This is a brilliant way for organisations to lower their fixed costs during hard times, but it also helps fast-growing companies move quickly without wasting time on administration.  If you’re interested, you can read our review of some of London’s temp agencies.

The only issue is that while temp agencies are great if you’re looking for on-demand helps with hospitality or admin, they don’t tend to focus on digital skills. So, if you’re looking for temp workers with a decent level of digital knowledge, it’s very difficult to find success right now.

 

Remote freelancers

One way for companies to fill these digitally-oriented roles is to employ remotely-based freelancers. This allows companies to bypass employing people, using digital workers on an as-and-when basis. However, it’s not a perfect process either:

  1. Quality.  It’s hard to know who is good and who isn’t, at least until their first job is done. There is little quality control, meaning companies lose time and money if the job isn’t done right first time.  It can take quite a bit of time to find the right person with the right skills.
  2. Location.  Remote workers are often in different countries and time zones, making communication difficult.  When using remote freelancers, companies have to trust complete strangers with information and ideas.
  3. Price.  For companies who prefer working face to face with providers, digital agencies are great, but they tend to be expensive.

All in all, it’s hard to find a quality freelancer who’s close enough to work onsite, at affordable enough to meet most budgets.

 

Our approach

At Crowdskills, we’re working to solve the digital skills gap by matching local organisations with talented graduates.  They have spent several years developing high quality skills, they time to meet with customers in person, and they can offer great rates as they’re just getting started in their careers.

  • We work with freelancers across a variety of digital services, including Graphic Design, WordPress, Digital Marketing, Social Media, Web Development, Web Design, App Development, Photography and Videography.
  • All the freelancers we work with at Crowdskills have been individually vetted, so you know you’re getting someone you can trust to do a great job.
  • We only work with locally-based freelancers, and we encourage companies to meet with candidates before they hire them for jobs, to build a relationship.
  • We’re experts in digital industry, so even if you don’t know exactly what you need, we can find the right freelancer for you, quickly and easily.

By enabling students and graduates to offer their services as an affordable, on-demand basis, we’re helping London companies and charities to bridge their digital skills gap without the HR cost and hassle of full time staff, or expensive agencies.

If your organisation is looking for digital services on a flexible basis, post your job here, or give us a call on 0203 504 6465.  We’ll be happy to help!

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