The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

#1466 Removal of SFIA Level 1 change request pending

An open question - not a definitive change request. It's becoming increasingly rare to find organsiations that need SFIA level 1 skills, or people who genuinely work at SFIA level 1 **in a professional context**. Whilst SFIA is focussed on the skills of **digital professionals** - do we need to keep it?

"SFIA defines the skills and competencies required by professionals who design, develop, implement, manage and protect the data and technology that power the digital world."

If someone is only working at SFIA Level 1 - can we call them a "professional"? A definition of "professional" could be debated of course, and room needs to be left for developing professionals - evidenced by many countries and large organisations investing in the "pipeline" of digital professionals.

However as a challenge, working with "little discretion in attending to enquiries", performing "routine activities in a structured environment", and having "basic digital skills to learn and use applications and tools for their role" may not meet many people's view of a professional, or developing professional.

If we removed SFIA Level 1 from SFIA only 9 skills of 121 would be impacted:

Development & Implementation:


Relationships & Engagement


Delivery & Operation


There has long been discussion of whether SFIA should extend "downward" to digital competency (for non-professionals). Removing Level 1 might provide some stimulus and leave space to better define expectations of digital literacy at levels below Level 2 - Assist.

Current status of this request: pending

Ian Seward (General Manager)
Jun 01, 2023 10:54 AM

This is an interesting one:
- It is true SFIA Level 1 is underused - but that doesn't mean it is unnecessary (someone may be operating at SFIA level 1 for only a short period of time). It may of course be only a short (or maybe not) stage in being a 'professional'
- I have had 1 (and only 1) very large employer say that "most employers don't have level 1, but we do, as we take direct from school" ?

My current thinking is that we shouldn't remove it (?) but should look to make it more useable:
- It is very applicable to the skills listed ... (but possibly a transient level)
- perhaps we should look to enhance it to more readily address what might be considered entry levels to a professional career i.e. focus on what others are calling 'basic digital skills'. This would mean beefing up the Level 1 Generic Attributes / Behavioural Factors, this might mean GAL1 is actually much more detailed and descriptive than GAL2-7. But this might be an appropriate place for 'starting Level 1 and it may be more appropriate to use this as a way to address bridging the gap between education and employment.

Matthew Burrows
Aug 31, 2023 09:38 AM

The definition I use for professional is "being paid", so I think we're justified in still having what we have at level 1. True that many orgs have automated this level of activity, and therefore many may not have anyone purely performing at level 1, but not all orgs - therefore my gut feel is that we need to keep it. As one of the design principles of SFIA is that we should include all the levels that are involved in a job/role and all the levels at which an individual performs as skill, we often find that level 1 is included alongside higher level skills, quite rightly.

Matthew Burrows
Aug 31, 2023 11:11 AM

Of course, "professional" goes beyond being paid, as there are lots of volunteers and unpaid internships where people are doing professional work.