The reality of today’s job market is that most employers demand an increased level of computer literacy from their workforce, and this is where the effects of the job search digital divide come in.
The digital divide is a term used to describe the gulf between two groups; those who have access to, knowledge of, and the resources to use ICT (information and communication technologies), and those who don’t have the access and resources to use these technology tools.
On a global scale, the digital divide often exists between those living in urban areas and those in rural areas, as well as between the literate and illiterate. Within the developed world, it exists rather between those who are up to date with the systems and tools, and those who are not.
How Does The Digital Divide Affect Job Search?
- The digital divide increases the cost of a job search, which simultaneously lowers both the chance of finding a suitable job and the ability to make a decent income.
- Online job application alone creates a great inequality amongst job seekers and divides the camp into two –those who are broadly competent, and those who are ‘wet behind the ears’ when it comes to access to, knowledge of, and use of information and communication tools.
- Most people who grew up with no access to the internet lack the technology and digital skills that the modern job industry requires.
- Computer skills are the prerequisites for securing a job position in many contemporary high–paying organisations, thus a lack of these skills may confine applicants to low–paying even menial jobs.
- A lack of ICT skill sets, broadband access and even social media abilities can make it extremely difficult to get jobs these days, as those with no internet access or computer skills are generally starved of the latest information regarding job opportunities.
- Some people, especially those in the rural areas, simply can’t afford a PC or laptop, while only a few of them understand how a computer operates. Not only does this increase job search costs, but it is quite a substantial problem in today’s job market. For instance, an applicant was expected to create a profile online for his job search to enable communications via email. Unfortunately, he is a resident of a rural community and is unknowledgeable in terms of access to and use of broadband. Also, he has no experience in typing documents and neither does he own an active email account, so he has to forfeit the opportunity as he couldn’t make it before the application deadline passed.
With the increased use of the internet within the job search and application process, it is not only literacy that is crucial, but also an advanced knowledge of latest systems and tools such as social media. With technology developing at a fast rate and new tools and websites being created every day, job seekers can massively enhance their chances of finding their dream job by successfully utilising the technology.
The digital divide is only set to increase, giving a wider range of opportunities to those with advanced computer literacy. Perhaps as broadband becomes more commonplace in rural areas and developing nations, the gap will close, but with new technologies constantly being developed, playing catch up will be no easy feat.