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Digital competence needs for the future – a Delphie-inspired study

Digital transformation changes the demand for jobs, the task content of occupations and, the skills needed to perform them. This Delphi-inspired study describes a probable future of work and articulates the digital skills required.

A panel of 30 rigorously selected experts were chosen for the study. Through two Delphi rounds, a number of projections in current research were evaluated in terms of estimated probabilities.
Through two Delphi rounds, a number of projections in current research were evaluated in terms of estimated probabilities.

Seven probable scenarios

The experts’ evaluation of seven probable scenarios that is likely to occur within 10 years are:

  • Digitalisation is unlikely to destroy large numbers of jobs. However, the task content of occupations will change continuously.
  • Transport, Wholesale & Retail, ICT and Manufacturing are the sectors most likely to run the risk of significant change.
  • It is not always the digitally mature sectors that are most likely to change.
  • The task content of occupations in customer support, data analysis, marketing and administration are most likely to be fully automated.
  • Firms require a mix of general digital competence, complementary non-technological digital competence and ICT specialist competence.
  • Man and machine will collaborate in order to use each other’s strengths.
  • There are still more men than women in ICT-specialist occupations.

Digital transformation is a multi-faceted phenomenon that originates from the synchronous adoption of a bundle of digital technologies. To measure how firms simultaneously use different technologies, the Agency for Growth Policy Analysis calculated a digital maturity index (Growth Analysis, 2019). Results highlight that, not surprisingly, the ICT sector shows the highest level of digital maturity, followed by the Energy and Wholesale & Trade. Noticeably is also that the Transport sector lags behind.

The sectors’ digital maturity rankings are compared to the Delphi experts’ evaluations of the probability that a quarter of the jobs in these sectors run the risk of significant change within the coming 10 years. The experts predict that the sectors most likely to change are Transport, Wholesale & retail, ICT and manufacturing. Transport is a sector with low digital maturity that the expert ranked most likely to significantly change within the coming 10 years.

A comparison of digital maturity (high to low) and experts’ evaluation of the projection that 25 % of jobs, in selected sectors, run the risk of significant change within the coming 10 years (high to low):

Comparison of digital maturity (high to low) and experts’ evaluation of the projection that 25 % of jobs, in selected sectors, run the risk of significant change within the coming 10 years (high to low)

Digital competence needs for the future – a Delphie-inspired study

Serial number: PM 2020:08

Reference number: 2018/159

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