‘Cyber Soft Skills’ Can Empower Lower-wage Workers and Shrink the Talent Gap

Our economy is constantly in flux. That’s a fact. But over the past few years, that fact has started to seem like an understatement. Lightning-fast innovation in the technology sector, coupled with the complexities of the pandemic, have led to seismic shifts in employment, hiring, productivity and more.

Indeed, innovation and the pandemic have rapidly transformed how people across many industries work. Digital skills such as proficiency with video conferencing or fluency with scheduling and timekeeping software are now fundamental requirements for many workers. From cities like Philadelphia, Baltimore, and DC to the rest of the US, workers — regardless of their industry — are expected to have these skills under their belts.    

And yet, major skill gaps remain, especially among workers in lower-wage occupations. While demand for these skills in traditional office settings may have grown organically over time, that’s not necessarily the case for individuals in the retail, construction, healthcare, and administrative industries. A Brookings Institute report on the rise of “digitalization” found that the use of technology continues to grow even in industries without a history of requiring such skills, creating new barriers to entry for workers.