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In this paper we examined the relationship between digital skills and predictions about the future of employment. We found that the digital skills most likely to be needed in the future are ones that are used in non-routine tasks, problem-solving and the creation of digital outputs.

On the other hand, the digital skills that are linked to occupations least likely to grow tended to relate to the use of software for administrative purposes. We also found that the relationship between the digital intensity of an occupation and its prospects 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.

In summary, not all digital skills appear to be of equal importance. Decision-making on investment in digital skills development should take these differences into account. Otherwise, we may risk funding training in certain digital skills that then become redundant in the not too distant future.

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Burning Glass Technologies for supplying the data and ESCoE for their support.

Skill cluster and skill examples

Table 1. Examples of the most popular digital skills in each skill cluster.

Accounting administration: Accountancy systems, QuickBooks, VLOOKUP
Accounting and financial management: Management reporting, pivot tables, data manipulation
Accounting software: Accountancy software, Navision, Oracle Financials
Advertising: Media planning, web analytics, Google AdWords
Animation: Adobe After Effects, Maya, game development
App development: Android, Objective-C, mobile application design
Automotive engineering: Vehicle systems, fuel cell engineering
Bi and data warehousing: Oracle, Visual Basic, data warehousing
Business analysis: and IT projects Microsoft SharePoint, PRINCE2, Microsoft Dynamics
Civil engineering: Structural design, MicroStation, CEng
Clinical research: Biostatistics, clinical data management, Clinical Data Interchange Standards Consortium (CDISC)
Complex sales: Salesforce, outbound marketing, WideOrbit Automation
Construction engineering: Microsoft Project, Primavera, interior design
Data engineering: Optimisation, Python, trading systems
Design and process engineering: Mechanical design, product design, CATIA
Diagnostic imaging: Radiology, medical imaging
Digital content authoring: ActionScript, proofreading, Adobe Flash
Digital marketing: Online marketing, Google Analytics, social networking
Electrical engineering: SCADA, switchgear, CIMPLICITY
Electronics: Electronic design, simulation, test equipment
Employee development: Sales automation software, learning management system, virtual training
Environmental planning: Geographic information system (GIS), urban design, ArcGIS
Event planning: Newsletters, copywriting, website management
Financial asset management: Fund accountancy, econometrics, SharePoint portal server
General digital: Computer skills, data analysis
General sales: Customer relationship management (CRM), CRM software, GoldMine
Graphic and digital design: Adobe Photoshop, Microsoft Publisher, website design
HR management: SAP HR, HRIS, HRMS
IT support: IT support, application support, Microsoft Exchange
Journalism and writing: Blogging, news editing, feature writing
Logistics administration: Order management, electronic data interchange, order tracking in SAP
Mainframe programming: Mainframe, COBOL, TestDirector
Manufacturing methods: ISO 9001 standards, computer-aided manufacturing (CAM), failure modes and effects analysis (FMEA)
Marketing research: SAS, SPSS, data mining
Marketing strategy and branding: Database marketing, e-marketing, Eloqua
Medical administration: Word processing, medical records organisation, medical records retrieval
MS Office Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Office, Microsoft PowerPoint
Multimedia production Multimedia, camera operation, Final Cut Pro
Networks Wide area network (WAN), switches, network installation
Office administration Typing, Microsoft Outlook, Lotus applications
Payroll and tax accounting Payroll reports, PeopleSoft, data validation
Physics and mathematics Mathematical modelling, machine learning, highperformance computing
Procurement Purchase-to-pay, procure-to-pay, mySAP
Recruitment Taleo, applicant tracking system, talent management system
Research methods and statistics Statistics, quantitative data analysis, Stata
Securities trading Visual basic for applications (VBA), risk system, Misys
Servers and middleware Apache web server, extensible stylesheet language (XSL), SOAP
Shipping and warehouse operations
SAP implementation, SAP Warehouse Management, Maximo
Software development SQL, Java, Microsoft c#
Structural engineering Engineering design, structural drawings, piping design
Supply chain management SAP, enterprise resource planning (ERP), supply chain solutions
System administration Linux, Citrix, Windows Server
Teaching Moodle, maintaining student records, managing student data
Web development Hypertext preprocessor (PHP), jQuery, MySQL

Authors

Jyldyz Djumalieva

Jyldyz Djumalieva

Jyldyz Djumalieva

Data Science Research Fellow, Creative Economy & Data Analytics

Jyldyz is the Data Science Research Fellow at Nesta, working in the Creative Economy & Data Analytics team.

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Cath Sleeman

Cath Sleeman

Cath Sleeman

Quantitative Research Fellow, Creative Economy & Data Analytics

Dr Cath Sleeman is the Quantitative Research Fellow at Nesta

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