Sónia Estrela, Dina Baptista
Nov 1, 2018
In the last five years, portuguese government policies and european guidelines have been reinforcing the promotion of strategies that foster innovation, access to the digital market and the creation of conditions to optimize the growth potential of companies in the digital context. Digital innovation is inevitably contributing to accelerate the change of organizations in terms of business models, but also of communication and professional skills required. The way that information has been shared and received has changed the way that companies work and communicate. This is why a significant number of companies, particularly small and medium sized companies, at the time of recruiting they value the skills to use communication tools and digital technologies that enable to create and share content, including more Social Media – like Facebook, Youtube, Instagram, Twitter or Linkedin. In Europe, it is expected that 16 million new jobs will be created by 2020 which will require information and technology (IT) skills. In Portugal, according to the Minister of Education, in 2030, about 80% of the population will have digital skills and 8% will be specialists in information and communication technologies. This reality demands a work of joint reinforcement and partnership between the companies and educational establishments responsible for the training of young professionals in all areas. This evidence and necessity justify the present study whose data were obtained through the administration of an online questionnaire survey to a sample (N=89) of Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) protocols with the Águeda School of Technology and Management – University of Aveiro (ESTGA-UA), in Portugal, within the scope of the curricular internships of the Degree in Retail Management and the Higher Education Training Course (TESP) in SME Management. The study aims to make a diagnosis that allows to know the reality and to draw the digital picture of these companies and tries to verify how these SMEs are responding to the challenges of digital communication in three dimensions: to identify the social media used and the importance attributed to it; assess whether SMEs have a strategy for managing and producing digital content; and identify the profile of the person responsible for the production/management of these contents. The results show that SMEs use social media to communicate, although they do not have a defined communication strategy and the focus of communication is too focused on the company and its products/services. Moreover, even though they recognize the excellent oral and written knowledge of the language as an essential requirement for content production, this task is carried out in many cases by internal workers without specific training and who add this function to others. It is intended that this study contribute to a reflection on the higher education provided and its suitability to the needs of these companies in an increasingly global and digital economy.