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Digitalisation came to work – 5 most important digital skills for employees

2.9.2021 7.19 | Published in English on 2.9.2021 at 16.30
Press release

The global pandemic forced us to make a digital leap. Almost overnight, we moved to a world in which both studying and work take place online. Digitalisation has come to stay in all types of work tasks. This change challenges us is many ways.

Today, digital skills are required in all sectors and all roles in the world of work. The COVID-19 pandemic also speeded up the digitalisation of services. The change was rapid and everyone had to keep up with it whether they wanted or were interested in it or not. The use of digital services is not compulsory in Finland, but it is already extremely difficult to avoid digitalisation.

Digital skills have indeed become a new civic skill and part of the necessary competence of all employees. Whether you do manual work or work in an office, whether you are a worker or a manager, you must know the basics of digital security and operating in a digital world. You also have to know how to use digital tools and applications.

Employee, make sure you have these 5 skills

Digital skills are a matter of competitiveness in the job market. “According to a recent study by the Finnish Institute of Occupational Health, approximately one half of Finnish people have sufficient digital skills for working life. The other half of the population has some kind of problems, but the problems are not consistent. People are often ashamed of their lack of digital skills, and the mere sense of shame may prevent them from learning new things,” says Minna Piirainen, Project Manager for Digital Support from the Digital and Population Data Services Agency.

None of us is born a digital expert. However, digitalisation is a learning opportunity for all of us. 

An employee’s most important digital skills:

  1. Knowing how to select the best tool for each content
    We are given the tools when we come to work, but understanding how to use them must be learned. We need to understand when to use each tool and what kind of content we should put in it. This requires more than just technical competence. As an employee, you cannot use a system without understanding what it is related to. 
     
  2. Skills related to digital security 
    The fast development of the digital operating environment requires careful attention. Securing your own data and devices as well as those of your employer’s and using them securely are necessary skills. 
     
  3. Information search skills
    The amount of data stored online is growing exponentially. Especially for people who do specialist work, it is important to find information that is topical and relevant to their field from reliable sources. Following the current debate in the social media is also a valued skill in the world of work.
     
  4. Media literacy and source criticism
    Media literacy is now more important than ever. Fake news, deliberately or unintentionally spread false information and scams are very common online. Current phenomena also spread in the digital world and new kinds of scams are developed. 
     
  5. The ability to manage technostress and be open to changes
    The world of work is becoming more diverse and multifaceted. When we have an open attitude to the changes in work and the digital environment, new ways of working will emerge. Digital working methods are not necessarily burdening, but poor planning of work, the multitude of electronic channels and devices, and insufficient familiarisation increase the burden. When work is done at home and digitally, it is also important to ensure recovery.

How work and the required skills will change in the future

Digital skills are not like riding a bike. “The basics remain the same – do not reveal your passwords to others, take care of data security and be critical – but the digital environment keeps on changing. This is why digital skills must be constantly learned. In future, augmented reality, artificial intelligence, the internet of things and the continuing and developing remote work will impose challenges and provide opportunities to the world of work,” Piirainen says. 

Responsibility of employers and society

At the moment, digital competence is to a large extent the responsibility of individuals themselves. This may lead to inequality. Investments at the level of society are therefore required to ensure that citizens have sufficient skills. Learning digital skills must be integrated into all education and training. 

Technostress must be considered when work is planned and the individual competence of everyone must be paid attention to in familiarisation.

The actors in the national digital support network provide help with operating in the digital world. The national Digital Support Week between 30 August and 3 September 2021 challenges us all to improve our digital competence. The Digital and Population Data Services Agency develops and coordinates the operation of the national digital support network.

Further information:

https://dvv.fi/en/digitalsupportweek

Digital and Population Data Services Agency, Project Manager for Digital Support Minna Piirainen, tel. +358 295 535 301, firstname.lastname[at]dvv.fi