National Skills Coalition (NSC) in partnership with the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta released Closing the Digital Skill Divide, a real-time snapshot of demand for digital skills in the US labor market. The analysis finds that 92% of jobs analyzed require digital skills. Previous NSC research found one-third of workers don’t have the foundational digital skills necessary to enter and thrive in today’s jobs. Together, these findings point to a significant digital skill divide. This report also found that public investments in closing this digital skill divide can generate measurable economic payoff for businesses, workers, and the broader economy. 

Closing the Digital Skill Divide finds strong demand for digital skills across every industry (dispelling misconceptions that demand exists primarily in the tech sector) and in almost every occupation, including entry-level and frontline positions. The report also finds that the digital skill divide disproportionately impacts workers of color, low-income individuals, and rural residents, due to historic underinvestment and structural inequities.  

The findings come at a pivotal moment as states plan to implement the historic $2.75 billion Digital Equity Act, part of the bi-partisan infrastructure law. The program provides funding to advance digital equity among populations most impacted by the digital divide. 

The findings suggest that states that target resources toward digital skill building could generate measurable monetary benefits: 

  • Workers that qualify for jobs that require even one digital skill can earn an average of 23 percent more than in a job requiring no digital skills. Moving from a job requiring no digital skills to one requiring at least three can increase pay by an average of 45%. 
  • For the economy as a whole, these increased earnings could generate more state and federal tax revenue. Depending on the household size and composition, this could range from $1,363 to $2,879 in additional tax revenue per household per year. 
  • For businesses, turnover costs (estimated at $25,000 when a worker quits within the first year to over $78,000 after five years) can be averted or delayed by ensuring that workers have upskilling opportunities.  

View the Closing the Digital Skills Divide webinar: