Half of UK firms think staff need more digital skills » SMEInsider

Half of UK firms think staff need more digital skills

Nearly half of UK employers think a lack of digital skills is holding back their firm, according to research by Barclay’s.

The study found that 47 per cent of employers believe their business would be more productive if their staff had a higher level of digital skills.

More than a third (34 per cent) of employers reported that they find it difficult to implement initiatives to upskill their staff. But businesses are investing an average of £109 per year in digital skills training for each employee.


Young guns at the helm

But many are focusing on the knowledge of younger staff, with 40 per cent of employers choosing not to invest in training up mid-level workers. Some 45 per cent said they think older employees are slow to pick up tech skills.

This mindset filters through to staff, too – more than half (59 per cent) of workers fear being replaced by a younger and more digitally savvy employee.

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, 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 skills and understanding to truly benefit.


Building digital confidence

“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.”

More than a quarter (27 per cent) of employers polled said data security was a top skill, with bosses saying understanding of data and device protection was key for new employees.

One third said that “very few” of their staff had the digital skills needed to do their job properly, but just 19 per cent of employers said they would increase their investment in digital skills in the next five years.

  • This is like saying, “we’re running out of paper, but we don’t want to buy any”. It’s time to invest in staff development and equip staff with the skills they need to do their job. As for only providing younger staff with training – this is absurd. Learning opportunities should be available to everyone, regardless of age / position and should always be tailored to suit the individuals’ needs.