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Which digital skills do you really need?: Exploring employer demand for digital skills and occupation growth prospects

By 2030 the job market will look dramatically different. Previous Nesta research has predicted that about 10 per cent of workers are in occupations that are likely to grow as a share of the workforce and 20 per cent will shrink. As for the remaining jobs, their outlook is more uncertain. Although unsettling, this disruption needn’t be disastrous for the workforce. There is an opportunity for employees in uncertain or shrinking occupations to improve their prospects by investing in the right skills. Policymakers consider digital skills to be a top priority for investment. They are seen as offering people greater employability and job resilience. But are all digital skills created equal?, Our analysis shows that not all digital skills will be equally important in the future. In fact, occupations which we are more certain will have poor prospects, are more likely to require a digital skill than the occupations that are most likely to grow by 2030. This is because the relationship between the digital intensity of an occupation and its potential for growth is not straightforward: there are occupations that are currently not digitally intensive, but are expected to grow in the next 10-15 years, as varied as teachers and chefs. The type of digital skills needed in a job also makes a difference: the digital skills most likely to be needed in growing occupations are ones that are used in non-routine tasks, problem-solving and the creation of digital outputs.