Digital Skills Gap: what are the costs for companies?

According to Randstad, 56% of employees believe that they don’t have the skills required today to master digital technologies. Impressive, isn’t it?

At the time of digital transformation, employees’ digital incompetence is a considerable obstacle to the sustainability of companies. Whether financial, operational or human, the cost of digital skills obsolescence is very real. 

In this article, you’ll discover the consequences and costs of the digital skills gap, and practical keys to support your employees and company towards digital maturity.

Digital skills gap: say goodbye to productivity

Tick-tock… This is the sound of time slipping through your employees’ fingers. When it comes to costs, the digital skills gap is above all a time thief. Your employees waste time researching, understanding and practicing digital skills. According to Dynamic Signal, 36% of employees say they don’t know where to find the information they need to do their jobs. As a consequence?

85% of users lose at least 1–2 hours of productivity each week searching for information

(Dynamic Signal)

A significant cost, since the time lost by your employees searching for information or filling their digital skills gap cannot be dedicated to their key projects or tasks. But the impact of the digital skills gap isn’t only about employees struggling with digital incompetence.

As a matter of fact, the IT department is also strongly impacted, starting with the support teams that must support employees towards digital maturity. But here’s the problem. 

Support teams need 24.2 hours on average to provide a first answer to internal tickets


By spending countless time responding to internal tickets, support teams lack the time they actually need to support the company on more strategic topics such as security and innovation. And since we are talking about digital incompetence, what if we looked at digital tools?

On average, companies waste 37% of their software budget. There may be many reasons, such as investing in the wrong tools, failing to deploy software, or unused applications. Among other things, 28% of software is unused (1E), and when they are used, digital tools are sometimes poorly understood. For example, 43% of CRM users use less than half of the features available on their CRM (CSO Insights). So, how to optimize the productivity of your employees at a lower cost?

🍋 Train your employees differently

Who said the digital skills gap was doomed to last forever? Putting training back at the heart of the company:  this is the solution to counter the obsolescence of digital skills. Say hello to 2.0 training: a continuous training, adapted to your employees’ needs and accessible directly from their software. If you’re wondering why choosing such a type of training, the reason is simple.

49% of users prefer to learn at the point of need and 58 % prefer to learn at their own pace 


Training your employees differently, okay, but how? With new digital tools such as digital adoption platforms (DAPs), companies can now rely on new training approaches such as Learning by Doing. Need to learn how to create a new opportunity on a CRM, to edit an invoice on a HRIS or to complete supplier data in an ERP? Now your employees can do it directly from their software thanks to integrated interactive guides. The little extra? By relying on training methods such as microlearning, your learners are trained through modules of up to 3 minutes. As a result, they have a new learning experience: continuous, contextual and agile, which makes it possible to overcome the obsolescence of (digital) skills, to save time and to increase productivity. What else?

Digital incompetence: say goodbye to employee engagement

One of the biggest costs of digital incompetence is the disengagement of your workforce. As a matter of fact, disengaged employees are particularly detached from their position and from the company because they are less fulfilled. Therefore, they are less involved, less efficient and more likely to leave the company. And it’s far from trivial, since only 15% of employees are engaged worldwide on average (Gallup). But how much do you think a disengaged employee costs?

$11,358: that’s about what a disengaged employee costs in the U.S.

(Gallup, LinkedIn)

Without support for digital transformation, employees may feel powerless and helpless facing many changes. As the digital skills gap entails wasted time, productivity, and lack of autonomy, digital frustrations can emerge and impact software adoption. But the impact of digital incompetence doesn’t stop at software.

82% of companies recognize the role that employees’ digital experience plays in business performance, rating it as “very important” to “vital”

(Nexthink – Vanson Bourne)

The digital employee experience is fundamental for employee experience. With digital transformation, digital technology has become essential for companies. In fact, the digital skills gap significantly affects the experience of employees in a company and therefore their engagement. This can involve disengagement from the company, which is also costly, particularly in terms of competitiveness.

🍋 Say hello to digital culture

To re-engage employees, it’s essential to bring meaning, especially when it comes to their position and their presence within the company. But there’s more. 

The digital experience is now fully part of the employee experience. So it’s essential to give meaning to the presence of digital in everyday professional life. As a result, corporate cultures must evolve and integrate digital culture. By establishing a digital culture, you will enable employees to better experience the digital transformation, as well as finding meaning in the changes.


Digital incompetence: say goodbye to competitiveness

Digital incompetence directly impacts companies’ competitiveness, and therefore their sustainability. Faced with the digital transformation, the obsolescence of skills is increasingly important. According to Cegos, 39% of jobs present a risk of skills obsolescence in the next 3 years. This coincides with what employees feel: 43% of them feel that they’ll (soon) no longer have the necessary skills to exercise their profession properly. Among other things, skills obsolescence particularly affects digital skills.

56% of employees believe that they don’t have the skills required today to master digital technologies


There’s no sustainability without digital transformation. Neither is there competitiveness without digital skills. And here’s the bad news: the cost of competitiveness results in a delay of your company compared to competitors that are currently catching up on digital.

Like productivity and employee disengagement, competitiveness directly affects the sustainability of companies. As with digital transformation, it is a matter of anticipating the challenges of tomorrow, starting today. So how can you actually do this?

🍋 Put innovation back at the heart of your business

What about optimizing digital transformation? According to Gartner, the competitive advantage of 30% of organizations will come from the ability of the workforce to use new technologies creatively. The lesson to be learned? The time lost today is a competitive gap for tomorrow. Supporting your employees on the path to digital maturity today is essential to enable them to give the best of themselves in terms of innovation. Helping your workforce to stay up to date digitally enables them to focus on strategic tasks and projects, making every employee a driving force of the business. So, who said innovation is tomorrow’s business?

Loss of productivity, loss of competitiveness, disengagement:  employees’ digital skills gap is far from insignificant. But no need to panic, you don’t have to say goodbye to these pillars of business sustainability. As a matter of fact, placing people back at the heart of digital transformation makes it already possible to overcome digital incompetence, especially through training, corporate culture and innovation. And as any project requires the right tools, companies can now rely on digital tools such as digital adoption platforms, which enables them to drive change more efficiently by simplifying digital employee experience.

Tags: Training

Sarah C

Sarah oversees all things inbound marketing, exploring the many business uses and topics surrounding digital adoption. Her previous experiences include B2C and product marketing in the social listening space, uncovering emerging industry trends.