Do employers take digital skills for granted?

I’ve never had a job where a computer hasn’t been part of my daily routine, yet no employer has ever asked me if I could use one.

To be fair, if I’ve applied for a job through a recruitment agency, then yes my computer skills have indeed been tested and where necessary a suggested skills improvement plan has been recommended.

PC Power ButtonIn a previous job about eight years ago, I was quite shocked when we employed someone who had actually never switched on a computer. It was her belief that she was employed for her interpersonal skills, not her ability to use a computer! Unfortunately she lacked a little on the former too so didn’t stay in the job very long anyway - and the company immediately implemented a computer skills test as part of the interview process, regardless of the position.

Like many companies BCS run induction weeks when you first join the company so you have the opportunity to be trained on software that is not run of the mill. You are however given a PC or a laptop (in some cases a mobile device too!) and expected to know how to use Microsoft Office applications. Fortunately we have the opportunity to take ECDL, or any of our other IT user qualifications, if we want to improve our computer skills. That skill development is down to us to recognise though - as is the case generally with any form of CPD.

I wonder though if improving digital skills is seen as a legitimate form of CPD and would employers accept that on your training and development plan? My feeling is it is, particularly as it improves your productivity, and employers should both accept this, and encourage it. Over the years, I’ve lost count of the number of times someone has sat with me and said: ‘How did you do that so quickly?’ or ‘Can you do that for me as I just don’t know how to do it?’

Apart from doing ECDL over 15 years ago, my digital skills have generally come about through self-learning. How have you got yours and does your employer offer any training to improve your skills?

About the author

Karen Manning

Karen ManningKaren graduated in marketing in the pre-www era and has relished the challenge to keep up to date with the latest developments in technology and new media. Keen to maintain her professional development, she is always looking for ways to improve her IT skills.

Comments (1)

Leave Comment
  • 1
    David Kay wrote on 17th Feb 2015

    I started my career when computers used punch cards and paper tapes and so have seen dramatic changes over that time.
    Over that time I've also seen a change in the expectations of employers in the skills and knowledge they expect young people to start work with beyond pure IT skills (e.g. being able to drive).
    As a governor of two secondary schools I'm aware on the pressure of the curriculum and breadth of subjects and level of detail expected to be taught and without extending the school day and term something has to give.
    My experience is that generally employers are cutting back on training of all sorts and are expecting employees to turn up ready made and skilled up. And this perhaps is the problem facing the UK economy.
    I know this doesn't answer Karen's question but it is not just an IT issue.

    Report Comment

Post a comment

About this blog

Supporting the government’s ‘Digital by Default’ strategy we’re keen everyone has the skills and confidence to use IT. Here, we share thoughts on a variety of digital matters.

See all posts by Digital Skills

Search this blog

November 2017
M
T
W
T
F
S
S
1
2
3
4
5
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
28
29
30