Lack of digital proficiency marked as major obstacle for job seekers in GCC

April 24, 2014 5:19 pm

The International Computer Driving License (ICDL) GCC Foundation, an organisation dedicated to promoting digital skills and cyber safety across the Gulf region, has announced that fresh university graduates are likely to face stiff challenges in securing good employment opportunities due to their lack of readiness with essential ICT skills required by today’s job market. The ICDL further states that this is due to technology progressing much faster than education and, hence, the region’s education system falls short of providing students with the relevant skills needed in the 21st-century workplace.

In a world where even job seeking is increasingly changing, a job seeker must possess the skills to leverage ICT in the job search. A job seeker must be able to use available online search tools, upload a CV on various job portals and utilise popular social media platforms. “According to a digital literacy survey in Prince’s Trust Report 2013, one in ten unemployed young individuals cannot even send his/her CV online, while more than one in six believe they would be employed today if they had better computer skills. With this alarming problem facing the world’s job seekers, let alone our own, the education system must prepare teachers to deliver the needed skills to students and must incorporate practical ICT training in the curricula before students graduate,” according to the ICDL.

Rapid changes in technology, such as the introduction of cloud computing and social media, have brought drastic shifts in the GCC region’s job landscape. Employers are now utilising these new forms of technology to be more cost efficient and, thus, require employees who are fully capable of leveraging these tools. According to the European Commission Digital Agenda, 90 per cent of jobs will need at least a reasonable level of ICT skills by 2015.

Jamil Ezzo, director-general at the ICDL GCC Foundation, emphasises on the need to equip the youth with relevant ICT skills to ensure their readiness for today’s workplace. He says: “Being ready for today’s job market requires a bit more than knowledge in using the internet, email and common MS Office applications. Employers are demanding ICT skills that are aligned with the latest technologies they are employing. The education system in the GCC region must keep up with these technological developments and fully understand the region’s job market demands to ensure that graduates are ready with the skills to be able to take the first step in their careers.

“The ICDL GCC Foundation has been working in collaboration with qualification and educational regulators to implement various internationally recognised computer certification programmes that will help GCC nationals to be skilled, re-skilled and up-skilled in line with latest international trends in ICT training and certification. As the GCC region moves towards becoming a knowledge-based economy, it is imperative that the workforce is trained with the latest digital skills for functional industry experience to give a boost to the policy of Nationalization,” concludes Ezzo.

Published first on Kipp Report