26% digital skills deficit in Italy

Although the pandemic has accelerated the digital transition, companies are suffering from a deficit in terms of professional IT skills (26.1%), the updating of which is however crucial for overcoming the post-pandemic crisis and returning to growth. The photograph was taken by report on training in companies in 2020, created by Istat.

The overall picture

The overall picture reveals that in 2020 68.9% of active companies in Italy with at least 10 employees carried out professional training activities, among large companies (250 employees and more) the share exceeds 90%. The commitment to training activities other than courses was important (+10.3% compared to 2015) such as on-the-job training, participation in conferences and seminars and above all self-learning through distance learning. Over four million workers took part in training courses (44.6% of total employees, with slight differences between men and women).

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Human Resources/Organization

In the three-year period 2018-2020 (which includes the year of the pandemic), almost all Italian companies declared that they had made significant changes which, for seven out of 10 companies (and almost 90% of large ones), affected information and communication processes and technologies.

In particular, 43.4% of companies report having done so as a response to the pandemic crisis.

Land transformationi in progress nhe last years hashavent had impact aalso on the context managerial of the companies, modifying them working methods and organizational practices (eg. team self-employed, teleworking, horizontal organizations), affecting two thirds of companies, sespecially for the health emergency (60.3% of companies the Report indeed as a cause of the change). Moreover, qalmost the two thirds of businesses has you laughedfinished its production processes, ricoby reversing production or developing new ones products or services and the 48.8% has modified or expanded the own channels Of sale or methods Of
provision/delivery of products or services (e.g. switching to online services, ecommerce and models multi distributiveschannel).

Technological and organizational evolution

In this context of strong technological and organizational evolution, training has played a role fundamental. Indeed, carried out training activities in 2020 orover 70% of businesses that hasno innovated the processes and the information technologies and of communication (74.3%) and of those that have changed working methods and organizational practices (73.4%).

Pto support the new activities they have been introduced tools for remote training of employees about in thein half of businesses (two thirds of which due to the pandemic crisis) with higher values to the national average in some southern regions (Abruzzo 67,0%, Apulia 56.1%) and of the Islands (Sardinia 59.7%).

Some differences are observed in terms of sector of activity. Six septumre of Ict and services professional emerge among those that have introduced the changes more relevant, the companies active in accommodation and catering stand out for using education to support innovations, in higher percentage (85.2%) compared to other sectors

Sectoral analysis

From a sectoral point of view, companies active in the supply of electricity, gas, water and waste management (84.4%) of mechanical, electrical, electronic appliances (83.7 %). Below the national average are the paper, cardboard and printing industry sectors (54.1%), accommodation and restaurant services (48%) and the textile and clothing sector (47.6%). The most widespread method of training in companies is still the “traditional” one, i.e. the face-to-face type (59.5% of companies), but in 2020 the use of training activities other than courses became relevant in half of the companies ( with an increase of 10 percentage points compared to 2015). Distance training is emerging, adopted by almost a third of companies, i.e. those productive realities which, thanks to the use of digital technology, have been able to invest in their human capital even during the pandemic crisis and with the interruption of ordinary activities.

The obstacles

Among the obstacles to carrying out training, companies reported high costs (8.6%), lack of time (8.0%), lack of financial resources available (7.1%) and technical difficulties in the organization of training (7.2%), the latter due, for a third of companies, to the onset of the health emergency from Covid-19. Going into the merits of some sectors, 264 out of 410 extractive industries have invested in training; 6,078 companies – out of a total of 7,810 – in the chemical industry have invested in training their employees, while this happened for 2,545 electricity, gas, water supply companies and waste management services 3,016 companies in the sector. Overall, Istat reports that out of 198,683 companies, 136,974 invested in training activities in 2020.

The role of soft skills to overcome the pandemic crisis

A third of the companies declares that, nin 2020, a part oftheir employees did not haveto the skills adequate to carry out their work according to the required level.

Neitherlarge companies size, the deficit of skills concerns two thirds of unit. Among the skills to be improved, the technical onesoperations stand out for their relevance (32,0%) compared to the sector in which the firms operate. TO these complement the skills transversal, such as ability to contribute to team work (31.2%) and L’problem-solving attitude (29.8%), whose role has become crucial in the emergency situation din 2020.

In addition to skills managerial and managerial (23.3%) le soft skillss they assume so a strategic value to deal with approxsudden and unexpected changes, such as quelli that the health emergency from Covid19 ha brought neitherL production context, and not only.

Despite the pandemic has accelerated the digital transition, companies are suffering from a deficit in this area of professional IT skills (26.1%) whose updating and necessary for all. Compared to the sector of activity, higher values ​​are observed for technical skillsoperational requests in businesses in ICT services (45,0%)ofTHEindustry (about 43%) and in finance (38,0%), and of those on teamwork to achieve a common goal in sectors very ddifferent from each other as that of transport and warehousing (36.9%) and of financial services (35.8%)

PMore than a third of companies (35.5%) indicate furthermore technical skillsoperational, i.e. specific of work, among the professional skills important for the development of the company in the next years (given down but in continuity with 2015). On the other hand, compared to the last edition of the survey, it is growing the future importance attached to professional e-skillsthere (who pass from 19.4% to 24.1%).

After technical skillsoperational srank in order of relevance the ability to manage the clientele (32,0%), the skills related to teamworking (28.5%) and toL problem solving (25.2%), the skill in self-managing their work (18.9%) and the ability to produce original ideas (6.9%) detected for the first time in the 2020 edition. Management and managerial skills, which are indicated as important to the futuro of the enterprise from 22.8% on average, they are for more than 50% of the large companies companies with at least 500 employees.


26% digital skills deficit in Italy – CorCom