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A Get Shit Done Guide to:

Bridging the
Skills Gap
Growth Tribe leads the way in adult education and digital
re-skilling & up-skilling, bridging the gap between rapidly
evolving technology and stagnant skills. We help companies of
all sizes bridge the digital skills and talent gaps.

It’s our mission to ensure both businesses and professionals

can acquire the skills needed for the digital present & future.
Executive Summary

1. With traditional skills acquisition paths struggling to keep up

with the pace of technological change, the onus has now
fallen on businesses to bridge a widening digital talent gap.

2. Businesses are finding a reduction in their ability to adopt new

technologies due to a lack of digital talent. As digitisation
continues to accelerate, businesses will struggle to keep pace.

3. There needs to be a shift in focus away from only hiring

highly-skilled workers from an ever-dwindling talent pool, and
towards nurturing and investing in the next generation of
high-potential digital professionals.
In short..
1. A lack of digital talent makes it
hard to adopt new tech.
Businesses struggle to keep up.

2. It’s up to businesses to bridge

this widening digital talent gap.

3. Companies should hire strong

potential candidates and build
them up into A-players.
A New Age of Digital...
We live in a fast changing digital world. The rate of change is
intensifying. The workforce is struggling to keep up and the skills
gap is increasing…

Business leaders must take steps to both attract and retain the
right digital talent and modernise their HR practices.

In order for business growth to be sustainable in the future, people

and technology will have to work in harmony...
New Jobs, New Skills...
Every week, it seems that there is a new report on large-scale job
losses in the future of work. Paradoxically, new jobs are being
created daily - but are left unfilled.


To put it very simply, the jobs exist… but people’s skills are lacking.

Businesses won't lose out to technology. They'll lose out to

competitors who hire the right people, with the right skills, who can
adapt fast and utilise the latest technology.

The shelf-life of skills is getting shorter as the digital world changes

at an ever-increasing rate. Research by PWC indicates that 25% of
everything you know now won’t be relevant in 2 years!

500 000
European IT skills shortage
by 2020

Source: Emperica - High Tech Leadership Skills for Europe

A Growing
Digital Skills
Falling Behind the Pace...
The average skills of an employee grow at a logarithmic level,
whereas technology grows exponentially.

To put simply, professional skills acquisition is struggling to keep

up with the rate of technological change!


Machine Learning

HTML, CSS, JS Back-end Dev

Possible skills

CRO Analytics A/B Testing

UX Prototyping Funnel Marketing

SEO Social
E-mail SEM


The Cause?
Individual current skills acquisition paths (higher education,
on-the-job learning and self-learning) are not adapted to the new
pace of change.

This is widening the gap between the skills people possess and the
skills businesses require.

education is
slow to adapt

Lack of self Lack of on-the-

learning job training
Relevant Skills
execution & opportunities
University Education is Slow
to Adapt

“Traditional undergraduate education

through information transfer is no
longer a viable form of education to
ensure employment and a career.”

Nancy W. Gleason
Author: Higher Education in the Era of the Fourth
Industrial Revolution
Higher Education can’t Keep
up with Digital Disruption.
Although they are making some effort, universities tend to adapt
and update their curriculums extremely slowly, often taking 2 to 3

Tenured professors specialize in specific topics in order to to keep

up with publication standards and requirements.

Undergrad courses rigidly follow textbooks that teach skills that

become swiftly outdated - or are already obsolete.

Not to mention that some universities can’t seem to retain their

best researchers and teachers.

In universities, economics courses make you do math proofs.

Marketing courses teach you a romantic, old-fashioned version of
marketing. Researchers agree that these 'skills' are rarely applicable
to the professional world.

How many masters graduates have you met asking for an

internship so that they can finally acquire some job-relevant skills?
What had they been doing for the past 5 years!?
A Lack of On-the-Job Training

“The big change seems to be that employers are

not training people — that entry-level jobs have
largely gone away. What employers are really
after is hiring people who can do the job as soon
as they walk in the door, and the proof for that
has to be that you are currently doing the same
job someplace else for a competitor. That’s who
everybody wants to hire.”

Peter Cappelli
Director of Center for HR, The Wharton School
Businesses Aren’t Prepared
for People to Learn Skills on
the Job!
Active learning is the most effective way to acquire skills fast.

But businesses want the full package, not someone with the

Research from the European commission has highlighted an

alarming paradox whereby ‘if you don’t already have the skills,
you won’t get the job that allows you to learn the skills’.

Those lucky enough to acquire a position also need to ensure they

enter a company that has the skills internally, where people are
willing to train new staff in an environment where day to day tasks
leave time for training.

Blockchain Developers, Innovation Experts, Junior Data Scientists

and Junior Marketers (to name a few) are in an unusual position.
They need to work for a company that is already implementing
these skills at a high level. Not only that, but the larger the
organisation the more specialised everyone will be, leaving less
room for new staff to develop a wide ‘T-shaped’ skill-set.

The greatest companies allow their employees to evolve through a

horizontal set of tasks. However, these opportunities are still too
rare and limited to innovative corporates who have adopted an
experiment-based approach.
A Lack of Self-Learning
Execution & Development of
Learning Mindset

“The internet is the greatest self-teaching

resource ever developed. But few take
advantage of it, because it doesn’t come with a
motor. No tests, no certificates, no cruise control.”

Seth Godin
TED Speaker, Entrepreneur and Author
The Paradox of Choice and
Limited Self-Control...

It may seem counterintuitive to believe that in the digital age,

where information is so freely available, effective self-learning is

But how, when platforms like Udacity, Udemy and Coursera make
learning so accessible? Well, platforms like these that run massive
open online courses (MOOCs) see an average completion rate of
just 10-20%.


Because of the high opportunity cost in researching courses, taking

the wrong course and investing valuable time. Just do a search on
Udacity and there is a seemingly endless list to choose from...

It’s called the paradox of choice, when you have so much to

choose from, it becomes easier to not make a choice at all!

To put it very simply, online courses lack curation. Where do you

start? What do you include? What’s most relevant? What will have
the most impact?
A Talent Gap:
What’s the
A Lack of Varied Skills will Halt
Productivity Growth!

“Evidence shows that the slowdown of

productivity growth is caused by a reduction in
the ability to effectively adopt new technologies.
This finding is particularly worrying since the
world is digitising faster than ever and the biggest
changes are probably yet to come.”

PWC Report
Lifelong Learning in the Netherlands
Missing Skills, a Slowdown of
Tech Adoption and Plateauing
Business Growth
How can businesses expect to see continued future growth (which
is so heavily linked to technology adoption) if they can’t find the
right people, with the right skills, to help them implement the
new technologies?

Without great talent being exposed to relevant training, companies

will struggle to adopt new technologies and as a result, will fail to

And no company, no matter how big, is immune to failure. 88% of

Fortune 500 companies that existed in 1955 are now gone, and the
life expectancy of a company has plummeted from 75 to just 15
But as with many threats,
this is an opportunity for
powerful change...
Bridging the
Talent Gap!
Invest in the right talent now,
to thrive while the competition

that they have

not taken digital
talent seriously!
Source: Capgemini & Linkedin - The Digital Talent Gap Report
The Building Blocks for
Nurturing & Retaining Digital
A Culture of Lifelong Learning

At Growth Tribe we have a simple yet profound saying; “always be

learning” and we live by it every day!


To quote a report on lifelong learning in the Netherlands “we have

to develop the awareness that staying relevant is important and
develop the right mindset to act on this”

Businesses must help foster this growth mindset!


By embedding and scaling a culture of lifelong learning. This will be

the most critical component in bridging the digital skills gap and
safeguarding against a company's cumulative skills decay.

Humans are naturally inquisitive, so learning happens at work every

day. But it’s up to companies to direct and drive that learning, to act
as a catalyst for continued skills adoption.

“Everyone is now responsible for lifelong learning and upskilling. It

is the skills that will carry you through; the content will always be
Embedding & Scaling a Culture
of Lifelong Learning
The Steps

Place an emphasis on the Supply the right tools

Successful culture importance of lifelong & resources required
change must come learning. Create to learn & share
from the top. Buy-in awareness of the ‘what’ effectively and make
from senior and ‘why’. It should be these accessible to
stakeholders is highlighted during the all. Plus, ensure
mission critical! onboarding of new staff. people have the time
for learning.

For learning to be Celebrate failure, fail fast, As Maslow once said,

taken seriously it test fast, fix later and build recognition is a basic
must form part of stuff that breaks! Know human need!
both the that a lack of risk taking Celebrate learning,
organisations and and testing of new reward dedication
the employees goals, knowledge can suppress and see productivity
OKRs and KSAs innovation! skyrocket.
Successful companies don’t
just offer great formal learning
opportunities, they foster a
culture that creates learning
opportunities everyday!
Nurturing High-Potential
Digital Talent

Attracting highly-skilled digital workers is great, but incredibly


For a company with an embedded culture of lifelong learning, the

low-hanging fruits are the high-potentials…

These hires will take full advantage of the learning opportunities,

rapidly gaining new skills and, crucially, continuing to develop and
maintain the most relevant skills over time.

Hiring the high-potentials, those who possess the growth mindset

and desire to learn, is a savvier long-term HR strategy. The ‘current’
highly-skilled workers may have the right skills now, but without
the mindset to continually learn, these skills could decay quickly.

This is not to disregard the fact that businesses often have an

immediate need for people with the relevant skills. But this hiring
method should be balanced with a strong development strategy
for junior employees.

Nurturing the high-potentials will future-proof the businesses

Rapid and Continuous Formal
Training is imperative...

is likely to gravitate towards say they are willing to move to

organizations that offer better another organization if they feel
digital skill development their digital skills are stagnating
with their current employer

Source: Linkedin & Capgemini - The Digital Talent Gap

Giving young professionals
what they want...

By 2025, millennials will make up 75% of the workforce!

94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested in

their career development
Furthermore, digital talent has
a low barrier to exit as they’re
faced with an abundance of
digital job opportunities
High-Quality Training on High
Relevance Skills for New &
Existing Employees

Delivered rapidly and on a continuous basis!

High-Quality Training

A major Gates Foundation study has ranked boredom as the #1

reason why kids dropout of high school. Research on college
boredom confirms the continuity of the pain. And guess what? It
doesn’t stop when you hit the workforce.

The problem with many training programs is that they are not
engaging enough and too theoretical. We live in a world of
constant movement, rapid gratification and practicality. If courses
and training want to engage their audience and reach their
learning goals they must adapt.

An effective training program must constantly engage and ‘WOW’

the participants. They must be highly practical and hands-on. These
are the learning experiences demanded by modern-day brains.

Think Kung Fu

You can’t learn Kung-Fu

by watching Bruce Lee
High-Relevance Training

As technology grows exponentially, the amount of relevant skills

that employees should learn grows sharply. Many subjects become
relevant across domains. Areas such as UX, behavioural psychology,
code, data, experimentation, channels and lifecycle management
become relevant for everyone in the organisation.

In this context it’s impossible to take deep courses on all these

subjects. Courses must follow a ‘power law” of learning, allowing
participants to gain the 5% of skills in a subject that they will use
95% of the time.

We call this T-shaping. It’s the concept of building specialists who

also have a wide range of generalist skills.
Building a Talent Pipeline

The world’s top companies are releasing the need for talent
nurture, fast-growing businesses like Skyscanner, and
Red Bull have been heavily investing in talent pipelines to ensure
their future business talent needs can be met.

An effective talent pipeline (built on the foundations of a culture of

lifelong learning) is the best way to future-proof a workforce.
Feeding the Pipeline

A strong talent pipeline needs to be fed with high-potential talent.

Indicators of high-potential are:

1. Solid foundation of knowledge

2. Demonstrated desire for knowledge acquisition
3. Strong social skills
“High potential employees are
91% more valuable to a
business than non-high
potential workers.

These prized individuals can

raise the performance bar of
other workers; simply adding a
star performer to a team
alone boosts the effectiveness
of other team members by up
to 15%”.

Source: Sage People Blog - ow to successfully identify and develop

high potential employees
Fuel for Growth: The Learning
High-potentials will have a propensity to learn fast. A growth
mindset encouraged by a learning culture will result in rapid skills

In combination, high-potentials exposed to high-quality,

high-relevance formal training will drive the development of the
most cutting-edge skill set for the job.

This powerful combination of continual self-learning and

high-quality, high-relevance formal training will rapidly turn the
high-potentials into the highly-skilled.

Embedded Culture of Lifelong Learning

High-Quality & High Relevance Formal Training

The Learning Loop
1. High-potential employees (with growth mindset) exposed to a
culture that encourages continual learning - they pick things
up fast!

2. In combination, high-potential exposed to high-quality,

high-relevance formal training that allows them to develop
the most cutting-edge skill set for the job

3. A learning culture supported by high-quality, high-relevance

training (delivered rapidly and continually) turns
high-potentials into highly-skilled fast!

4. A growing highly-skilled workforce (less likely to leave due to

L&D opportunities) can help to mentor new high-potentials to
further increase the speed of development

Highly skilled
employees coach
and knowledge
The Result

In the medium to long-term, the company

benefits from an increasingly skilled digital
workforce that is both more resistant to skills
decay (due to growth mindset, learning culture
and training opportunities) and less likely to leave.

A workforce fully equipped to drive a businesses

sustained future growth.
Combating the Cause

University education is
slow to adapt

Focus on hiring
high-potential digital

Lack of self Lack of

learning on-the-job
execution & training
mindset opportunities
Embed a culture of Skills Develop a strong
lifelong learning talent pipeline
and combine this that will turn
with high-quality, high-potentials
high-relevance into highly-skilled
formal training that can coach
new junior talent
The Bottom
Line: Impact
on ROI
“Companies with strong
leadership and talent
management practices
increase their revenue 2.2
times faster and their profits
1.5 times faster than
companies with weak
practices, according to a
survey of global companies.”.

Source: Financial Management Report - Investment in talent leads

to faster revenue, profit growth
The Value of Superior Talent
Research by BCG highlights that superior talent management
can have significant impacts on business revenue and profit

Source: BCG - Leadership and talent index survey

“On average, the Fortune 100 ‘Best
Companies’ to Work For' provides 73
hours of training for full-time
employees, compared to 38 hours
delivered as standard practice by

The top organisations also had 65 per

cent less staff turnover than other
organisations in the same sector –
partly due to their employee
development programmes.”

Source: Training Journal - Unlocking the ROI of employee

Reduce Churn, Save Cost
Recent research indicates that a strong learning culture can
lead to a 30–50% high retention rates in companies.

94% of employees would stay at a company longer if it invested

in their career development!

Total cost of replacing a single employee

Logistical cost of hiring

Cost of bringing employee up to
optimum productivity level

Source: Linkedin Learning - Workforce Report 2018

Source: Unum - The cost of brain drain
Nurturing and Retaining
Digital Talent Will Not Only
Bridge the Talent Gap, It Will
Have a Big Impact on Bottom

“Ultimately, the digital talent gap will damage firm's’ bottom

line if they don’t address it now. If employees don’t feel like they
are continuously learning or are worried that their skills are
redundant, they will either leave and take their knowledge and
experience with them or emotionally resign and only perform
their duties.”

Claudia Crummenerl
Head of executive leadership & change at Capgemini
Get Inspired!
Linkedin: The A.I. Academy

“Today, top universities can’t produce graduates with the

requisite AI skills quickly enough. Companies around the world
compete fiercely for these individuals, without whom they can’t
hope to remain competitive; LinkedIn is no exception.

To address this problem, we’ve created the LinkedIn AI

Academy. The goal of this program is to equip employees across
the company—in areas like engineering, product management,
etc.—with the knowledge they need to optimally deliver
impactful AI experiences to our members”

Craig Martell
Head of Machine-Learning Science and Engineering at Linkedin
Improving A.I. Literacy
Linkedin has launched an internal AI academy to help
employees across the company understand how to incorporate
artificial intelligence into their every day work.

Recognising the importance of A.I. literacy in the future

workforce the academy will help staff from all departments
gain a fundamental understanding of artificial intelligence.

Each team will be exposed to training relevant to what they do!

The company hopes to eventually incorporate this training in its

employee onboarding as they believe it is such an important
area, one where all staff should develop a fundamental
AT&T: A Talent Overhaul

“Rather than hiring new talent wholesale, AT&T has chosen to

rapidly retrain its current employees while striving to engender a
culture of perpetual learning.

AT&T estimates that, all told, 140,000 employees are actively

engaged in acquiring skills for newly created roles (And the
expectation is that every four years they’ll change roles again.)’

Harvard Business Review

AT&T’s Talent Overhaul
Increasing Speed & Efficiency
Through Investment in
Finding the right talent with the right skills can be a challenge.
A recent survey from Deloitte found that 39% of company
executives said they were either ‘barely able’ or ‘unable’ to find
the talent required.

By rapidly upskilling current employees AT&T have so far seen a:

Reduction in product
development cycle time

Accelerated time to

Source: HBR - AT&t’s Talent Overhaul

Skyscanner: The Growth

“Instill an ability to test, pivot & iterate in a market, at velocity; we

upskilled our teams using T-shaping. Creating a culture that’s
fearless in executing, & learning through a Growth Mindset”

Rebecca Moore
Growth Director, EMEA at Skyscanner
Removing the Fear of Failure
to Learn and Grow Fast
Since 2003, Skyscanner has grown from 3 to 1100+ staff and
throughout that time has fostered a culture that is ripe for
learning and encourages risk-taking.

The result?

As Fiona Li, Growth Strategy Team at Skyscanner puts it:

“Skyscanner has experienced double digit growth over the past
consecutive seven years. Such an achievement could not be
possible without internal efforts to transform our company’s
operation and people.”

Removing the fear of failure has allowed Skyscanner to create a

culture primed for growth, where tasks can be executed rapidly.

Experimentation and testing is encouraged, even when it leads

to failure.


Because the company understands that rapid experimentation

helps achieve rapid growth. As illustrated earlier the celebration
of failure is a key stage of embedding a culture of lifelong
learning, a culture that does not stifle innovation!
Google: The G2G Program

“Organizations that embrace a culture of learning create an

environment that encourages curiosity and knowledge sharing,
which in turn leads to better business outcomes. A strong
learning culture can better position your organization for future
needed skill shifts and primes employees to think and act more
like owners when it comes to their own development needs. One
effective way to promote a learning culture is through an
employee-to-employee learning program. Employees develop
and grow by teaching others, and the people in your
organization learn from peers with first-hand knowledge of the

Rework from Google

Knowledge Sharing is Caring
A company that truly values learning should always encourage
knowledge sharing!

With their G2G employee-to-employee program Google does

just that! With over 6000 volunteers signed up to the internal
program producing 80% of all tracked learnings it appears to be
a success!

Google comments that: “An employee-to-employee learning

program is not about ‘doing more with less’. If you’re looking to
save money on a training budget and mandating
participation, you could end up with resentful employee
teachers delivering rushed classes to confused employee

But Google is a huge company with massive resources!?

It doesn't matter what size your company is, there's always

opportunity for knowledge sharing!

From day one, highlight to all new hires that learning is both
expected and encouraged. Ensuring access to the right tools to
learn and share is a key part of embedding a lifelong learning

Top Tip

At Growth Tribe we have

set up slack channels for
the sharing of new tools,
books and articles!
“In order for an
employee-to-employee learning
program to work, it needs to be part
of a wider organizational culture that
values continuous learning. No matter
your industry, it’s likely that your
employees, your organization, and,
ultimately, your bottom line would
benefit from a culture where
employees were constantly learning
new things, seeking out new
opportunities, and developing new

Rework from Google

Training High-Potential
Digital Talent for High-Growth
Tech Companies

Growth Tribe recently launched the World’s Only Growth & A.I.
Traineeship to help fast-growing companies meet their digital
talent needs.

During the 6-month hands-on program we train top European

professionals into Growth Marketing & A.I. for business experts. All
candidates will be trained on the most cutting-edge digital
marketing, growth hacking and A.I. for business skills.

Learn more about the Traineeship and discover the types of

high-performance technical professionals you could hire.

The time to invest in digital talent is now!

Find out more!

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