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INVESTMENT IN DIGITAL SKILLS STILL LOW

Friday 1st April 2016
We’ve talked about in recent blogs how businesses across The North are recognising the importance of investing in digital in order to fill the prominent skills gap present across the industry at the moment. We’ve attended many events where the momentum in driving digital growth in the UK is extremely high.

However in a recent article by Recruitment International it was recorded that British employers are still not doing enough to boost employee’s digital competence according to research commissioned by Barclays.

While almost half (47%) of all businesses believe better digital skills would lead to a more productive workforce, investment in digital upskilling remains low at only £109 per employee among medium and large businesses.

At a time when competitiveness across all markets has never been higher, and investment in digital is essential. Why are businesses still not recognising the urgency of getting their workers up to date with the relevant digital skills?

The survey of UK employees and employers found that businesses have struggled to digitally upskill the workforce, as a third (34%) of employers find it difficult to implement the right training to address the current lack of digital skills.

Instead, two-fifths (40%) of businesses opt to hire younger, more digitally savvy employees to address the digital skills gap, with 45% of organisations admitting to believing that older employees are often slower to pick up digital skills.

A third (33%) of employers consider only a small proportion of their employees as having the digital skills they would expect of them given their role.

More than a quarter (27%) of employers surveyed considered knowledge of data and device protection a priority digital skill to look for when hiring new employees, exposing heightened concerns amongst British businesses around cyber and information security. 

Other digital skills that are a high priority for organisations are:
Ability to analyse large data sets (23%)
Use social media effectively (21%)
Use cloud-based tools and services for collaboration and storage (20%)
Basic design skills (19%)
Basic knowledge of building a website (16%)
Coding skills (15%)
Ability to produce video content (10%)

In spite of this mounting concern, most businesses have only agreed to increase digital skills by just 19% over the next five years, says Barclays.

As we’ve mentioned before there is a lot of positive activity taking place across the digital sector to improve the skills gap. However, with figures like these from Barclay’s it would seem a lot of businesses have a long way to go.

Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, said, “The digital revolution is having a profound effect on our lives by dramatically changing the way we live and work and interact with one another. Although in many ways this is empowering, it can also be challenging, because it requires people and businesses to acquire, retain and consistently develop new skills and understanding to truly benefit. At Barclays, we began this journey by focusing on helping colleagues build digital skills. We are committed to Barclays continuing to play a major part in making Britain the most digitally empowered nation on earth, sharing our own insights with our customers and with businesses of all sizes.
 
“Together with government, businesses and society as a whole, we need to raise our sights beyond basic inclusion and aim to create a Britain of true digital confidence at all levels of the workforce. We are at a tipping point when it comes to digital skills and the UK must act now to ensure we are not left behind.”

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