Enrichment Education

Higher salaries, job satisfaction reported among those with digital skills: Gallup

“Global demand for digital skills across industries and job categories is increasing amid an unusually employee-friendly job market.”
Person on computer.

Story at a glance

  • New research from Gallup and Amazon Web Services showed employees with more advanced digital skill sets earn more and report higher job satisfaction and feelings of security.

  • However, the majority of those with advanced or intermediate digital skills did not learn them in a traditional school setting. 

  • According to researchers, employers may want to consider investing in worker upskilling.

Those looking to enter the workforce or advance in their current position may want to brush up on their digital skills.

A new Gallup/Amazon Web Services study on more than 30,000 workers and 3,000 hiring managers across 19 countries found the more digital skills an employee has, the more money they earn.

Respondents who use either intermediate or advanced digital skills on the job earn 40 and 65 percent higher salaries, respectively, compared with workers who don’t use a computer at work. This finding was consistent regardless of factors like gender and educational attainment. 

“Global demand for digital skills across industries and job categories is increasing amid an unusually employee-friendly job market, providing workers with increasing power to seek more favorable working conditions,” authors wrote. 

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The findings come on the heels of data showing tech-savvy Millennial and Gen Z workers are poised to reap the highest wage increases from job switching seen in 20 years. 

In the Gallup survey, advanced digital skills were classified as knowledge of a programming language or included skills like cloud architecture or machine learning, authors wrote. Intermediate skills included drag-and-drop website design and data analysis. 

Employees who use basic digital skills, or those who use platforms like email and word processing, earn 14 percent more than their non-digital counterparts.

Digitally skilled employees are also more likely to report higher satisfaction with their current employment situation and greater job security. Seventy-two percent of workers who use advanced skills each day reported favorable job satisfaction. As digital skill levels decreased, so too did job satisfaction ratings.

Similar trends were seen with regard to the number of digital skills employees used each day, with the majority of employees using five or more skills having favorable opinions of their job. Individuals who used advanced skills were more likely to report higher job security.

Self-directed learning, informal training and employer-provided training were commonly reported methods of learning digital skills. Formal schooling was less common, as just 27 percent of responded said they learned their digital skills in a traditional school setting. 

The vast majority of workers who completed digital skills training in the past year said it resulted in at least one positive career benefit such as increased work efficiency and more opportunities for promotion. 

Despite the benefits that come along with being digitally skilled, 84 percent of hiring managers said hiring these workers was somewhat of a challenge or a significant challenge. Many reported losing applicants to other companies, and around a quarter said they’re unable to pay the market wage for digitally skilled workers.

“In the U.S., hiring difficulty has been a growing concern as unemployment fell leading up to the pandemic and job vacancies increased, especially in roles requiring digital skills,” authors wrote. 

Employers also need to contend with the “quiet quitting” trend, whereby employees meet the minimum job requirements and don’t go above and beyond in their role, in order to achieve a work-life balance.

Previous research from Gallup found “how employees rate the quality of their job and workplace engagement are closely linked, suggesting that digitally skilled workers are less likely than other employees to participate in actual or quiet quitting,” researchers added. 

“Amid concerns about a possible recession, digitally skilled workers are more confident than others that their job is secure. Yet, with intense competition for digital skills around the world, employers may benefit from investing in worker upskilling, creating a win-win dynamic that powers the business while also empowering the workforce,” they concluded. 

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