The UK’s digital skills gap is once again in the news. New research from eBay UK suggests that if a fifth of UK SMEs made greater efforts to upskill their workforce then the UK economy would benefit to the tune of around £8.5bn.
Minister of State for Digital and Culture Matt Hancock said: “Digital knowhow can help firms save money, increase profits and improve productivity, yet too many firms still do not use websites, trading platforms or social media channels.
“It is essential we take every opportunity to create the world-leading businesses of tomorrow, so I welcome Do It Digital’s campaign and pledges from other organisations to increase digital skills in small businesses.”
“Clear benefits to going online’
UK SMEs that that don’t have a well developed digital infrastructure (which might include a website, social media channels or a presence on an online marketplace) may in fact be losing out on the opportunity to enjoy £20.2bn in revenue every year, the new research from Development Economics suggests.
This equates to £20,000 in increased revenue or efficiency savings per business, across all sectors from retail to manufacturing. eBay said: “Our sellers tell us that there are clear benefits to going online, with access to our marketplace enabling a British small business to export to markets as far afield as Australia or Canada with ease. If we can help the final fifth of small businesses without digital infrastructure close that gap, our research shows that the UK will see clear benefits in terms of jobs and growth – and small businesses themselves will see an average growth of £20,000 in revenue.”
‘We are launching eBay for Business today to provide tools, guidance and resources for small businesses who are looking to make the leap.’
Michelle Ovens MBE, director at Do It Digital, said: “All evidence supports the belief that there are clear financial benefits for small businesses embracing digital. But we also know that many don’t have the time or access to the expertise to take advantage of what’s available to them. We want to help change that, one step at a time, by showing that digital needn’t mean a leap into the unknown by giving them access to support and guidance on how to engage in a way that is best for their particular business.”