Strong increase in demand for digital skills in France

Catherine Abou El Khair / JGPmedia for Localtis

Job offers in digital professions have increased by 66% over the past four years, according to an OECD study conducted in partnership with the Randstad temping group. These needs related to the digitization of the economy require the development of lifelong training.

A major trend in the developed world, the pace of the digital transition is intensifying, generating more and more skills needs. In France, the number of job offers associated with digital professions increased between 2018 and 2021 by 66%, according to a study carried out by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in partnership with the group interim Randstad, presented on Friday 9 December (download below).

Out of 417 million job offers over ten years, in ten countries including France, the study distinguishes four main categories of professions: data analysts and IT administrators; software developers, programmers and software engineers; information and communication technology (ICT) technicians and data entry operators; ICT and HR managers and marketing specialists.

Five skill areas

In France, these professions represent 7% of online job offers, according to an estimate by the OECD and Randstad. All of these occupation categories are progressing, with the exception of ICT technicians and data entry operators where the growth of advertisements is more moderate.

“The digital transformation greatly increases the number of specialists”, deciphers the president of Randstad France, Franck Ribuot. The study identifies five skill areas: programming, advanced data analytics, automation and the Internet of Things, cybersecurity, as well as business-related digital skills.

As a corollary to increased automation, “maintenance technicians are in enormous demand in our agencies”, continues Franck Ribuot.

Training to stay employable

These needs make it necessary to strengthen continuing education policies. “We are in a world where we will have to continually adapt and improve our skills,” warns Stefano Scarpetta, Director of the Directorate for Employment, Labor and Social Affairs at the OECD. “What is going to be key is what is not going to be replaced by machines, that is to say soft skillssuch as critical thinking, creativity, emotional and situational intelligence”, continues Franck Ribuot.

Given the shortage of qualified candidates, it will be necessary to recruit according to skills and appetites, even if it means training afterwards, in order to fill the available positions. A challenge in France, a country where “sectoral mobility is still complicated”, according to the leader of the interim group. He claims the ability of his sector to identify the key skills required by companies in order to create “sustainable, adequate and fairly rapid training”. “Having a real partnership between the governmental sphere and us would be a solution for the future,” he adds.

More exposed to job destruction linked to the digital transition, workers whose qualifications are “low” or “intermediate” will have to train in order to maintain their employability according to Stefano Scarpetta. “Skills change quickly. A period of inactivity of 6, 12 or 18 months can create a real hole in the ability to stay up to date with your skills,” adds Franck Ribuot.

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