Posted on April 1, 2016 by staff

Digital skills gap ‘could hold UK firms back’


UK companies have been warned that a lack of digital skills among employees could see them “left behind”.

Research by Barclays found that despite an average investment of £109 per employee in digital skills training, almost half of employers believe their firm is being held back in this area.

“The digital revolution is having a profound effect on our lives by dramatically changing the way we live, work and interact with one another,” said Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK.

“Although in many ways this is empowering, it can also be challenging, because it requires people and businesses to acquire, retain and consistently develop skills and understanding to truly benefit.

“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.”

A third of employers thought most of their staff lacked the skills needed to properly fulfil their roles.

However just 19% of employers plan to increase investment in digital skills over the next five years, with a third claiming they had difficulty in implementing upskilling initiatives.

Firms are increasingly turning to younger employees in a bid to counteract the skills gap.

Researchers found 40% of employers chose not to train mid-level employees in digital skills because it was easier to pass the mantle to their up-and-coming tech-savvy colleagues.

A huge 59% of employees feared being replaced in this way while 45% of employers said older people are slow in picking up these skills.

Data security topped the list of digital skills employers seek in their staff ahead of big data analysis and effective use of social media.