Later this week I am speaking at a conference on digital innovation in job search. As I work on my presentation I cannot help but reflect on some challenging home truths. There is a common perception that some people simply cannot use technology. That it is too complicated for them or they are of a generation that simply does not ‘get it’.
However, it does not take very long to find evidence disproving this. How many people who never found use for a computer adopt the technology once their grandchildren are on Skype? Or what about those who discover they can make some ready cash buying and selling on ebay? Or perhaps their interest in their family history has brought them to the many research tools available online.
The simple truth is that most people will make the effort to learn how to use technology when it suits them to do so. The challenge is helping the person recognise the benefits so they make the effort.
This has particular relevance for job search. Without digital skills it is hard to find anything but the most basic job. From vacancy search to online application forms to simply emailing a CV, technology is ubiquitous.
We developed MyWorkSearch because it seemed obvious that a low cost and readily accessible job search assistance portal would make sense for very large numbers of people. The hundreds of thousands who have benefited from the service demonstrates the merits of the approach. But what about those who find it all just a bit too difficult?
All too often I see those assisting others with job search simply accepting low levels of digital literacy and agreeing that alternative methods of job search are acceptable. The more I think about this the clearer it is to me that we are doing jobseekers a disservice. Very, very few people are genuinely incapable of using technology. We need to make clear to jobseekers a) why technology will benefit them and b) that learning basic IT skills is both essential and within their capabilities. Too many people use ‘technology’ as the barrier that impedes their job search. Those of us who work in the employment sector need to be clear that the training and equipment are available and the only real barrier is motivation.