On a global level the discussion about the digital divide mainly concerns access to the internet, robust high speed connectivity, tools and skills and how lack of that access is reinforcing the divide between weak and strong.
An important discussion, as the digital revolution currently is changing the whole infrastructure of societies. Right now we have an amazing opportunity to do what´s right and even out the differences between weak and strong by working for digital inclusion.
In the same way the industrial revolution made some level of literacy and numeracy a requirement for all, supporting basic levels of digital literacy is key today.
As technology becomes more embedded in everyday life and is increasingly taken for granted by those with relevant tools, skills and understanding – the exclusion of the digitally illiterate deepens. Affecting democracy, equality and social mobility.
In the world of corporate, power is being re-distributed to the digitally skilled, very refreshing. The highly skilled digital natives of generations Y and Z are getting a seat at the table and bring new and needed perspectives.
Unfortunately this re-distribution also underpins the “ageism” on the labor market. A recent Swedish survey* shows that 32 % of Swedish economists in the ages 45-67 have experienced age-discrimination. That is being overlooked in recruitment processes even though they are the best fit for the job. The perception of this group as digital-laggards is part of the problem and is also recognized among other highly educated professionals. A black swan in the labor market that needs to be seen;
No society can afford its highly educated, tax-paying 50 year old´s going unemployed – fact.
In order to over-bridge the digital divide in corporate, further education and training is needed and should be encouraged. However there is a lack of organized training for this group*. If you are a highly educated professional, it´s basically up to you to re-invent and develop yourself as needed.
At this moment there are four generations of economists, HR-professionals, lawyers, doctors etc active on the labor market. All needed to keep the support systems of society going. How can we create digitally inclusive organizations for all? I would love your input. I think all our minds, all our ideas are now needed in the formation of an inclusive, sustainable, digitized society.
References in this article:
*Survey by Novus and Civilekonomerna 2019
*Research by Anna Hedenus et al Gothenburg University, also article in DN 2019-05-05 on the difference in organized further training for different groups in the labor market. “Skillnad på fortbildning för tjänstemän och arbetare.”
If you are interested in the ongoing discussion on digital inclusion and digital divide and how it relates to lawyers, visit Nordic Legal Tech Day in September where an expert panel will discuss the subject. Click HERE to register.