The National Skills Coalition took a look at the impact of digital skills training on workers, the word force and businesses…
The findings in this analysis are unequivocal:
There is overwhelming demand for digital skills in the labor market, with 92 percent of all job ads requiring definitely digital or likely digital2 skills. This demand is robust across all industries, and small businesses are just as likely as their larger peers to seek workers with technology skills.
Yet many workers have not had sufficient opportunity to build such skills; earlier research found that nearly one-third of U.S. workers do not have foundational digital skills, and workers of color fall disproportionately into this category due to structural inequities.3
Equipping workers with necessary skills requires action by both private employers and public policymakers. Notably, public investments in workforce development and education are especially vital given the unevenness of private investments and the prevalence of digital skill demands among smaller businesses, which depend on publicly funded workforce and education partners to upskill employees.
Closing the digital skill divide has major payoffs for businesses. Prior research has shown that workers value upskilling opportunities and prefer working for employers who offer clear, well-defined pathways to advancement.4 Because turnover has heavy costs for businesses – with estimates ranging from $25,000 for workers who leave within the first year to over $78,000 for workers who leave after five years,5 averting or delaying turnover by ensuring that workers have upskilling opportunities can be economically significant.
Public investments in closing the digital skill divide can also generate economic benefits for individual workers and the broader economy. People who qualify for jobs that require even one digital skill can earn an average of 23 percent more than those working in jobs requiring no digital skills — an increase of $8,000 per year for an individual worker.6 These increased earnings could result in more state and federal tax revenue generated by each worker. Depending on the household size and composition, this could range from $1,363 to $2,879 per year.7