A report released by Startup Canada, Canada’s national rallying community and voice for Canadian entrepreneurs, explores the importance of next-generation skills and technologies in the advancement of Canadian small business owners (SBOs). The report reveals that 73 percent of small business owners list digital skills among their top 3 priorities. Additionally, 29 percent of Canadian SBOs do not believe the current workforce possesses the right digital skills to help start and grow their companies.
DIGITAL SKILLS GAP OUTLINED AS TOP CONCERN
The largest challenge currently facing Canadian SBOs is the presence of a digital skills gap. The report found that in order to remain competitive and increase revenue, SBOs need to improve their current teams’ digital skills.With the rapid change of technology, many SBOs are seeing themselves fall behind on the newest digital trends. The top five skills SBOs indicated needing to improve are digital marketing skills, social media skills, data analytics skills, programming and web development skills and web design skills.
IMPROVED DIGITAL EDUCATION AS TOP RECOMMENDATION
According to a report by released by the World Economic Forum, on average, by 2020, more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills that are not yet considered crucial to the job today. The two problems outlined in the report is the ongoing divide between the study of Humanities and Sciences in post-secondary institutions as well as the divide between theory training and applied the hands-on training.
The 2017 Startup Canada report found that these educational divides are causing a digital skills gap which is making it difficult for SBOs to find qualified employees. It was recommended that businesses consider working closely alongside government and educational institutions to implement a 21st-century curriculum that will better prepare the SBOs of the future with the necessary skillsets to build successful companies.
- “The Fourth Industrial Revolution is definitely a push through with digital technologies. Only companies with these core digital skills will excel,” said an SBO from the Sustainable Energy Technologies sector.
- “Mid-to-advanced level competencies in digital skills are lacking,” said an SBO working in the Information Technology sector. “There is lots of base knowledge in our workforce but very little real expertise and real-world application experience of those skills. School is not enough, we need people who have tried new technologies before in a real-world environment.”
- “The way customers buy services are evolving [and] any company in our industry that does not acquire basic social media, communication and digital production skills is fated to stagnate at best,” said an SBO identifying himself as working in the Resources sector.
- Find quotes from entrepreneurs within the report here.