Crunched by the numbers: The digital skills gap in the workforce
In this report, we take a more granular approach, attempting to understand the impact of the demand for digital skills on specific occupations. To conduct our analysis, we went to the source: the skills employers ask for in job postings. Burning Glass scans close to 40,000 job boards, employer sites, and other sources of job postings daily, using artificial intelligence technology to break down these postings into the specific skills and qualifications employers demand. As we examined these postings, certain clusters of digital skills became apparent: Productivity Software Skills, such as using spreadsheets and word processing programs, are required for the majority of middle-skill jobs. In addition, they often serve as a baseline skill level for more advanced positions. For this report, “productivity software middle-skill occupations” are occupations that require only productivity software skills and no other digital skill group. Advanced Digital Skills, such as customer relationship management (CRM) software and higherend computer networking skills, are required in many middle-skill occupations in addition to a baseline of productivity software skills. Occupationally Specific Digital Skills, such as health technology and computer-controlled machines, are required in specific technical occupations. For many machinist positions, for example, the ability to physically operate machine tools isn’t as important as the ability to guide the robots that operate the tools. The definition of middle-skill jobs has itself become fuzzy, as degree inflation and other trends make the traditional definition (more than a high school diploma, less than a bachelor’s degree) less accurate. For our purposes, we defined middle-skill occupations as those where fewer than 80% of job postings called for a bachelor’s degree and that also offer a median hourly wage above that of the national living wage.