By. Michael Condra and Natalia Marrero
Compared to 30 years ago most jobs didn’t require computer training or digital literacy skills. Today more than “50%” of all jobs require a high degree of digital literacy. By 2020 this number will rise to more than “70%” of all jobs. As technology advances every year we will need more people to adapt to the changing job market. This trend will continue as more jobs require computer skills and the ability to adapt to emerging technologies. By using a forward looking approach we can plan on how digital literacy training will impact users.
One future that is quickly emerging is the continuing automation of low-skill work that won’t require human input. While this may sound troubling for workers we will need to start with adequate training and education for people to compete for high-skill jobs. In a recent report from the National Academy of Sciences found that “the educational system will need to adapt to prepare individuals for the changing labor market.” In a recent survey found that a majority or “87% of workers believe it will be essential for them to get training and develop new jobs skills throughout their work life in order to keep up with changes in the workplace.” Preparing workers for the future of jobs will require on-going training to develop the skill set the need.
Preparing for the future of a changing labor market requires a high level readiness among applicants. At the same time, nearly “52% of adults” are “relatively hesitant to use digital tools in their learning,” as mentioned in a 2016 Pew Research Center survey. This hesitation is linked a variety of factors, but mainly “tied to their professed lower levels of digital skills and trust in the online environment.” Making digital literacy training comfortable for everyone to understand it and use it will be an essential key for digital readiness among job seekers.
While digital preparedness is key to bridging barriers for families, individuals and job applicants for the labor market. Digital literacy can have a profound impact on someone’s future professional development. “Digital literacy is the second most important thing in bridging the digital divide,” says James Jack, Co-founder of human-I-T. “We want people who are not currently using technology to [use it to] benefit their lives and help accomplish their goals to do that.” As computers update and emerging technologies continue to change the labor market additional digital literacy training will help realign the labor force for new jobs.
On how technologies will affect digital literacy training and the job market, Paulina Sanchez, Program Manager at human-I-T says that “as technology advances, I think making it available to everyone else and user friendly will encourage greater use of new technologies.” In addition to encouraging greater use of these technologies, it will help prepare the workforce for STEM careers which “will grow fastest among occupational clusters” by 2020. By having open access to computer training and building digital literacy skills will foster professional development among workers.
Digital literacy has the potential to impact to disrupt jobs everywhere and not just the technology sector. Recognizing what will be essential for job seekers, families and individuals on learning new skills will improve their long-term job outlook and income growth. Focusing on preparing digital literacy training for people will be ongoing process that will continue for the rest of their lives. Building skills for new generations will ensure that no one is left behind.
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