The fourth industrial revolution is here. Soon connections will be limitless as we evolve at an exponential pace. The World Economic Forum showcased this revolution and the technological transformation to digital transformation. Cisco believes digitization will be the most exciting phase of the Internet yet. By 2020, it’s predicted there will be 50 billion connected things, bringing massive change to business and societies, including a focus on new skill sets for future jobs.

The International Labor Organization estimates that 197 million individuals globally are unemployed, a trend that is expected to increase by 3 million over the next two years, of which 73 million are youth. On the other hand, employers worldwide cite a lack of applicants as the main reason they have difficulty filling positions. A Manpower study backs up this claim, with 42% percent of U.S. employers reporting talent shortages as a barrier to filling jobs. Given the large unemployment rate around the world, training people for digital transformation is critical to filling jobs and skills gaps.

Building on a previous report, a new Gartner study supported by Cisco Corporate Affairs lists the key skills required across a variety of digitization jobs. In this new study, Gartner found entry-level opportunities globally across all job families, with the most growth in device management and network management. Here are Gartner’s estimated 2014–2020 growth rates for entry-level digitization jobs across five employment families:

  • Device management – 32.6%
  • Network management – 28.9%
  • Applications development – 25.8%
  • Digital security and privacy – 22.3%
  • Business analytics – 20.7%

In 2020, Gartner estimates that of the additional 1.5 million IT service and applications jobs worldwide, 300,000 are entry-level. These jobs will be in addition and complementary to core IT services and applications jobs.

To access these new opportunities, people will need the right skills. As job roles become more complex, successful applicants will need a mix of technical and soft skills, such as creativity. In this latest research, Gartner found the most common core skills needed across the variety of digitization entry-level jobs are analytics, applications, network management, security and privacy, communication, critical thinking, and teamwork/collaboration. In addition, understanding the business context is becoming more and more critical to success.

No matter the job, a basic understanding of digitization will be important as all jobs will require some element of technology skills. Many jobs are becoming technology jobs, and many businesses are becoming IT businesses. To reap the potential rewards of digital transformation, the world will need millions of people to fill information and communications technology jobs in every country, and in almost every field. But no one organization can solve unemployment; it requires partnerships across many industries, including government, education, corporations, and nonprofits.

To make a significant and lasting impact, Cisco works with nonprofits, NGOs, and community-based organizations around the world, investing in corporate social responsibility programs in areas where we can add the most value. Our Cisco Networking Academy program partners with more than 9500 institutions that teach ICT skills to students each year in 170 countries, providing greater economic opportunities for students and building a pipeline of innovators for the future workforce.

Digital transformation will create a revolution in how we work. However, we need to collaborate with educational institutions, incubators, innovation centers and businesses to develop the right skills development for these new digital jobs.  By bringing together this diverse set of stakeholders, we can address part of the problem via a comprehensive and collaborative skills-to-job approach. Ultimately, if we can harness the power of digitization and align education, curriculum, and learning to the technology job market, we can use it to prepare people for employment success and fuel economic growth.

To request a summary of either Gartner study, click here.

Watch this blog and follow Cisco CSR on Twitter as we continue to discuss ways to multiply impact and bring positive change in the world.


Tae Yoo

No Longer with Cisco