Assessing the State of Digital Skills in the U.S. Economy



Stephen Ezell | Information Technology & Innovation Foundation

An increasingly digitalized global economy requires ever-more digitally skilled workforces for nations to remain productive. Unfortunately, domestic and international assessments of digital skills show the United States is lagging its competitors.

The global economy is increasingly digitalized. Oxford Economics estimated that in 2016 the digital economy accounted for 22.5 percent of global gross domestic product (GDP). Going forward, analysts at the research firm IDC have estimated that as much as 60 percent of global GDP will be digitalized (meaning largely impacted by the introduction of digital tools) by 2022. Countries that wish to successfully compete in the global digital economy must cultivate workforces possessing the requisite digital skills so that industries, enterprises, and even individuals can thrive in the digital environment. This report explores the state of digital skills across the U.S. economy, examining what they are, why they matter, the current extent of workforce digitalization, and how the United States fares in international digital skills comparisons. It concludes by providing a brief overview of some of the best practices and programs being introduced by nonprofit, academic, and corporate organizations to deepen the U.S. digital skills base and suggesting policy recommendations to further foster U.S. digital skills development.


To read the full report from the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation, please click here.