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Training needs to be focused on the next generations of talent if we wish to close the skill gap, European Study Finds

IAB Europe Education & Training Committee has just launched its annual Human Capital in the Digital Environment report. The survey findings uncovered  a series of critical areas of the digital training and human capital in the online ecosystem, ranging from the primary training needs of both employers and candidates, to the challenges faced by the two groups when filling positions in the industry. 75% of respondents cited the shortage of eligible candidates as the primary challenge they face when recruiting. This is reported across Europe relatively uniformly: 71% of employers in Central, Eastern and Southern Europe recorded this shortage, which rises to 78% for respondents from Northern and Western Europe. The majority of respondents cited programmatic (59%) and analytics (61%) as the most highly-desired skills by recruiters, for both candidates applying for a position and also existing staff moving into a new role.  55% of respondents saw programmatic as vital in the recruitment process, whilst 51% were interested in receiving training on this topic. In terms of analytics, 51% of responders see this as the main skill to have when seeking a job in digital advertising and marketing, while 46% would like to receive further training in it. A contradiction occurs when it comes to emerging technologies, with 48% of candidates marking this as a topic they would like to be trained in, though only 35% of employers have cited it as a skill they are interested in candidates possessing. Social media advertising skills are also in high-demand, according to 44% of HR and training experts.

The findings of the report conclude that responders have failed for 2 consecutive years now to address digital marketing skills: in many countries the formal education system is simply not adapted to today’s digital requirements. Future professionals in digital advertising, particularly the few who come from disciplines not directly tied to this field, find themselves in need of general training, whereas the industry relies heavily on very specialised skill sets. Students from fields such as software engineering, economics, mathematics, computer sciences, are not immediately aware of the opportunities presented by digital advertising and therefore the pool of potential candidates is lower than it could be, which is a reason for for the shortage of talent highlighted by the report.

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Alastair Tempest

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