Procurement Fred Heritage · 31 March 2016
Digital skills gap exposed by inadequate investment
Britain’s smaller businesses are struggling to meet the challenges posed by the digital skills gap, with many firms at risk of falling behind more digitally savvy competitors. Almost half of UK employers believe organisations would be more productive with higher levels of digital skill amongst workers, whilst 34 per cent admitted to finding it difficult to implement the right training to digitally upskill a workforce. According to new Barclays research, 40 per cent of companies rely on the digital skills of younger employees and graduates ignoring the pressing need to boost the digital competence of more senior employees. Just over a third of business owners believe that only a small proportion of their workforce has the necessary digital skills that specific job roles require of them. Knowledge of data and device protection was found to be one of the most desirable traits of new employees when firms recruit, revealing greater concern amongst the UK’s business owners around cyber and information security. Data analysis, social media knowledge, an understanding of cloud-based collaborative tools and coding were also considered attractive skills. Despite mounting concern, Barclays discovered that firms were investing on average just 109 a year on digital skills training for each worker, whilst the average owners were willing to increase spending on digital skills training over the next five years was just 19 per cent.
ABOUT THE EXPERTFred Heritage
Fred Heritage was previously deputy editor at Business Advice. He has a BA in politics and international relations from the University of Kent and an MA in international conflict from Kings College London.