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Education level and age, key factors in the acquisition of digital skills

Education level and age, key factors in the acquisition of digital skills

The level of education and age are the most determining factors for acquiring digital skills, according to the study by the Observatory of digital skills and employability, a project of the IMANcorp FOUNDATION and the Grup de Recerca in Educaci i Treball from the Department of Sociology of the Autonomous University of Barcelona.

This study highlights that there are no significant differences between digital skills based on gender. In other words, a similar level of skills is observed between men and women.

On the other hand, the study observed notable differences in digital skills by age and level of education. More specifically, we observe that as age increases, the percentage of people with low or no digital skills increases, being particularly high among those over 65.

A strong polarization is also observed in digital skills according to the level of education attained: people with high levels of education have higher percentages compared to intermediate and high skills, while people with higher levels of education. Basic studies have high percentages with the lowest or no digital skills levels.

Among those with a lower level of education, the groups with the least digital skills are concentrated. Age adds an additional element which increases these differences; specifically among the population over 46 years of age. These results highlight how the level of education becomes the most determining variable – even according to the age and the employment situation – which determines the level of digital skills, explains Alba Escol, head of IMANcorp FOUNDATION. .

The digital skills indicator

In order to analyze the interaction effects between the different variables, and thus be able to distinguish those that have the most impact, the managers of the Digital Skills and Employability Observatory have developed a general digital indicator of digital skills. . This index ranges from 0 to 26, taking into account that the higher the index, the higher the level of digital skills of people.

This index allows us to see the importance of age and education in acquiring digital skills. So, for example, the fact that the average of the digital skills index for young people up to 30 years of age is 15.3 stands out. However, it is 10 points lower among those over 60 (CIM = 5.62).

Source: IMANcorp FOUNDATION and Grup de Recerca en Educaci i Treball (UAB).

With regard to the level of education, as shown in the following graph, people with little education have on average an index of just over 7 points, while in the case of the population with a higher education qualification, this skill index increases to almost double. .

Source: IMANcorp FOUNDATION and Grup de Recerca en Educaci i Treball (UAB).

Within each level of education, young people have the highest digital skills index. Compared to older people (over 65), the difference is almost double. This effect is a little more pronounced at lower levels of education where the gap between these two groups is greatest (10.26 for digital skills for the youngest against 3.5 for those over 65). We observe, on the other hand, that in the other age groups, the gap with the youngest remains significant although it is decreasing.

Likewise, we observe that with the same age, in all cases, those with a higher level of education have more digital skills. Indeed, the difference between the average digital skills according to the level of studies acquired is greater than by age groups, so that the study deduces that the level of education has a greater weight than age when digital skills are acquired.

What we can conclude is that while these two variables have a strong effect on digital skills, the level of education acquired is more important than age. Among people with higher levels of education, the digital skills of the youngest and other age groups are twice as high, while they are three times higher in the group of people with little education. Therefore, the studies help soften the effect of age, as the polarization is stronger in those with weak studies, concludes Dr. Rafael Merino, academic leader of the study.

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