Major Study of Jersey's Labour Market Highlights Digital Demands

Posted: 19/08/2020

The largest ever study of Jersey’s live labour market shows embracing technology and growing data and analytics skills could be key to boosting productivity as the economy recovers from the shock of coronavirus.

The project, commissioned by Digital Jersey, with support from Skills Jersey and carried out by labour market specialists Geek Talent, has analysed more than 9,000 job vacancies in Jersey over the past two years to get a detailed understanding of the skills employers are looking for, and married them up with the CVs of more than 6,000 islanders to see if supply matches demand.

It also explored how much of people’s existing tasks in their jobs could be automated, freeing workers up to do more productive tasks during their working day. It found that while 55% of a fund accountant’s work could be automated, that fell to 12% for a cleaner.

Working with Digital Jersey, Geek Talent interviewed over 60 industry, education, and government representatives across 40 sessions as part of their data gathering exercise.  From these discussions, the study concluded there was a need to embed digital skills across the school curriculum; that businesses lacked the confidence and expertise to adopt and implement technologies ; and that a lack of quality and affordable housing for newly arrived islanders – across a range of sectors from agriculture and hospitality to financial services and digital – was a barrier to attracting talent to the island.

Digital Jersey CEO Tony Moretta said: “There is so much information in this study by Geek Talent, and the timing could not have been better. We are all rethinking our approaches to so many aspects of our lives, and that’s no different for businesses. Through this process we’ve been able to identify, really clearly, the areas where Digital Jersey and our partners can offer that support and guidance, and it’s given us clear food for thought as we consider new courses that the Digital Jersey Academy can offer to help close the skills divide in the island.

The report highlighted the most transferrable skills, based on analysis of thousands of local job vacancies, with management, business, training and motivation skills being the most sought after.

It also mapped changing trends in job vacancies, including an increase in temporary jobs and zero hour contracts, and a shift to companies looking for people to complete specific tasks – or gigs – rather than permanent ongoing roles. This trend has particularly impacted tech and creative roles that require digital skills; often making them location agnostic. Overall, most of Jersey’s industries were found to lag their UK counterparts in the use of technology.

Dominic Murphy Founder of Geek Talent added: “The findings from this study will help educators to ensure the current and future workforce is equipped with the skills that employers are actively looking for. At a time when the island, as with the world, has gone through an economic shock to the system caused by the coronavirus pandemic, having this level of insight and detail gives Jersey a ‘first mover advantage’ as we head into the recovery phase.”

James Linder Strategy Manager of Digital Jersey added: “this study provides a roadmap for Digital Jersey to work with industry and education to support staff training and business adoption of technology into their processes, freeing up employees time to operate in a more productive way”.

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