In line with Bristol Digital Week taking place 16-20 October 2017, we catch up with individuals leading the way in digital and tech in the region to capture their views on skills in the digital sector and where the future is headed.
Tell us about your business?
Nudge helps ambitious organisations achieve more online. We build and improve websites and mobile applications that lead to more sales (or enquiries), more engagement and an improved return on investment from online advertising spend.
From an education, skills and training perspective, what does the digital sector look like?
It’s been improving but there is still a shortage of ‘prepared talent’ coming through. On the technical side there are many computer science students but not enough that are also ‘enthusiasts’; people that have taught themselves the technologies needed to be relevant to today’s mobile and web development space.
On the marketing side there are too few professionals that are able to scrutinise performance and ROI from campaigns. There are lots of people that can ‘tweet’ but fewer that know how to measure performance back to sales … which is the important bit!
Are you finding any skills gaps in your business - and what about the digital sector overall?
Yes, all businesses have skills gaps! I think the UK has too few performance marketers and too many ambient marketers. There are a lack of strategists that truly understand multi-channel marketing and also have the ability to talk at a high technical level.
There are also too few client service professionals that have come from a technical background.
If we don’t fill skills gaps, where do you think the digital sector is headed?
I think the UK digital sector will focus more on strategy in the coming years and clients will ‘wake up to’ the need to invest in strategy before buying websites, apps and more. Agencies that lack a strategic focus (at Nudge we’ve invested heavily on having the right people in strategic roles) will become commoditised and have little chance of competing.
What can we do to make the most of the digital talent in the region?
Help colleges and universities in their course creation and syllabi. Also ensure that practitioners are teaching the new grads coming through. There is a low barrier to entry which is both a huge opportunity for young people and a huge threat to the industry in terms of quality assurance.
About Luke Aikman
Working as a CEO, non-executive director, investor and advisor, Luke has helped some of the world's best companies and most promising entrepreneurs, specialising in digital leadership and innovation, as well as a regular speaker at events and in delivering courses to young people in entrepreneurship, attitude and planning success.
Bristol Digital Week
Check out the series of events taking place during Bristol Digital Week 2017, together with partners BBC Academy, Open Doors, Venturefest and Bristol Festival of Ideas.
Read more interviews with individuals leading the way in digital in the region from our Bristol Digital Leaders series:-