ServiceNow: Bridging the Public Sector Digital Skills Gap Through the ServiceNow RiseUp Program
Bridging the Public Sector Digital Skills Gap Through the ServiceNow RiseUp Program
I started my career in 1994 as a COBOL programmer for a large insurance company. My fellow graduates and I were given 12 weeks training in the relevant technologies, and then we were let loose to ensure car insurance was administered as it had been in the UK for many years. There were many in my department who had worked with this system and technology their entire career and were rapidly approaching retirement. However, as I have subsequently moved through my career, the technology that I have worked with has changed at an increasing rate, necessitating me to adapt, refresh and reskill more frequently to keep up to date, with those manuals from my first 12 weeks now gathering dust in my loft.
The World Economic Forum states that ‘Accelerated Technology is a shift to a digital-first way of working at an unprecedented speed, demanding transitions to distributed, agile and digital operating models.’ For governments and commercial organisations to keep up with and take full advantage of these advances, they require an informed and relevantly skilled workforce who stay current with and can apply modern digital practices and technologies.
Bridging the digital skills gap requires consistent ongoing training to ensure skills match the rapidly evolving digital landscape. However, statistics show that 52% of the workforce do not have the essential digital skills required for work (Lloyds Bank UK Consumer Digital Index 2020). This is further supported in the following findings from a Fathom AI 2023 Report commissioned by ServiceNow.
Even when employees are provided with training for digital skills initially, there is generally little ongoing training thereafter. The Department for Education Employer Skills Survey 2019 found that employers’ spending on workforce training per employee fell by 10% in 2019. Furthermore, the 2021 survey (Department for Education Employer Skills Survey 2021) found that only 52% of the total workforce had received some form of training during the year – the lowest proportion in the 10-year history of the survey.
Demand for digital talent continues to outstrip supply and the problem will only increase as digital transformation accelerates. Research and advisory firm IDC estimates that 90% of global organisations will be affected by digital talent shortages (IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Future of Work 2022 Predictions) and that the talent deficit will reach more than 6 million resources in the United States alone by 2030. This creates an expanding value gap, as desired business outcomes are delayed or compromised by a lack of skills needed to drive digital innovation.
Digital skills are scarce within the workforce, however there are several areas of focus that can address this. Firstly, shifting digital education earlier, for example STEM initiatives within schools. Secondly, reskilling employees from different roles. Finally, ongoing commitment and delivery of relevant employee training within organisations. ServiceNow aims to address all three via our RiseUp program.
We have found that to drive successful digital transformation, organisations must also transform their talent. This is necessary to ensure desired business outcomes are not compromised or delayed by lack of digital skills.
ServiceNow have developed the RiseUp program to give organisations the opportunity to close their talent gaps, and to give individuals the opportunity to start meaningful digital careers. RiseUp aims to skill 1 million additional people (individual entrants, customers, and partners) globally in digital skills and ServiceNow technologies by 2024. In the UK this is delivered via bootcamps, dedicated 3-month training courses and/or a University degree apprenticeship. Through RiseUp we aim to help customers scale for success via Centre of Excellence guidance, staff upskilling and staff reskilling as well as sourcing additional skilled staff using a combination of ServiceNow NextGen resources, placement partners and University placements.
A good example of this is BT (British Telecom), who wanted to ensure that their global service desk employees received ongoing training in the additional customer value that they could provide using their ServiceNow solution, to maximise BT’s investment. By delivering training to hundreds of key users on their operational teams globally and through Train the Trainer enablement to their training teams, ServiceNow RiseUp helped BT to scale their ServiceNow skills and fill digital talent gaps as they continued to launch additional product offerings.
To assist our Public Sector customers with their desire for ongoing learning, we have set up a number of communities to allow customers to collaborate and learn from each other (Higher Education, NHS, Central Government, plus an overarching Public Sector community, with more to follow). We regularly deliver webinars, hackathons, and face-to-face meetings covering topics such as new functionality provided by new product releases. Furthermore, we have published community-specific microsites loaded with relevant enablement material.
On-going skills development is a great enabler of personal growth. It allows us to pursue our passions, explore new interests, and broaden our horizons, helping us to become more confident, creative, innovative, and to develop a sense of purpose and fulfillment in our lives. This leads to increased employee engagement, productivity, efficiency, and longevity. Two famous and complimentary quotes from Sir Richard Branson bring this to life:
“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough so they don't want to” and…
“If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
I am incredibly grateful for the training and investment my employers made in me throughout my career, which has enabled me to keep my skills relevant for the roles I have sought. On a personal level as a life-long learner it has given me a great deal of satisfaction to continually develop my skills and rise to new challenges.
Learn more about ServiceNow’s RiseUp and NextGen initiatives.
Vicky Hampton is Director, Solution Consulting, Public Sector UK at ServiceNow.