- Surprisingly, 39% of 25 -34-year-olds do not believe they have the digital skills necessary to be employable.
- 54 % of those people who do not believe their digital skills are of an employable level are women and 46% men.
- A think tank has warned UK on brink of digital skills shortage.
- Google, Microsoft and Salesforce call on UK government to take action.
- Take the online digital skills test.
The UK is heading for a digital skills pandemic new research has shown.
With furlough recently coming to an end and people heading back to work, experts believe the digital skills shortage will be emphasised now more than ever.
People searching for digital skills courses on Google rose by over 100% when the first lockdown was announced and the same trend followed for each lockdown announcement throughout 2020 which clearly shows that people were concerned about their digital skills and this new survey confirms people are still worried.
In a shocking new study performed by educational charity and awarding body Ascentis, they found that 60% of people in the UK do not believe they have the digital skills necessary to be employable.
What is even more surprising is of those surveyed, 39% of 25 -34-year-olds do not believe they have the digital skills required for employment.
In March this year, NESTA, a think tank, warned that the UK is heading towards a digital skills shortage disaster which is already costing the UK billions of pounds, at a time when the job market is already under pressure. The study performed by Ascentis would back up those claims.
Since the pandemic struck, the requirement for digital skills has soared due to a large portion of the UK workforce forced to work remotely and needing the ability to perform their tasks via digital means.
TechUK, a technology trade association, collaborated with large tech companies earlier in the year to produce a report that focused on the UK’s current digital crisis. The report stated that large tech firms such as Microsoft, Google, and Salesforce are now calling for the Government to work with tech firms to open up new pathways for all people to access digital skills certifications with a proven track record on employability, supporting individuals from all backgrounds to succeed in digital jobs.
Figures shown on the government website say that 11.3 million people (21%) lack the full basic digital skills but the research performed by Ascentis show that these figures are most likely to be much higher.
The government website also goes on to say that 4.3 million (8%) have no basic digital skills at all and that 5.4 million working adults (10%) are without basic digital skills. People with a registered disability are 4 times as likely to be offline 28% of those aged 60+ are offline.
“I will most likely end up unemployed, which would put my family and me under huge financial burden.”
Helen Philpott, 34, from Gloucestershire, had been on furlough for just over 14 months but due to furlough ending, will be back to work in the coming week and will be forced to work from home most days, she commented saying:
“My job before the pandemic was predominantly going around speaking to people face to face, working mainly with paper based contracts and not needing to have a huge knowledge around digital but now everything has changed, we have new digital systems in which I must regularly meet clients via video conferencing, set up new software and use CRM systems so as to keep everything up to date digitally.
The truth is, without full training, I will not be able to perform the tasks required of me. If that is the case, I will most likely end up unemployed, which would put my family and me under huge financial burden.”
Danielle Hallahan, Product Development Manager for Digital Skills qualifications at Ascentis commented
“There is a concern right now that we are heading into a digital skills pandemic, The rapidly growing pace of technological advancement is evident in all aspects of modern life. Digital skills are now deemed just as important to employability and participation in society as English and maths.
The new reliance on digital technologies during the pandemic served to highlight the Nation’s digital crisis and emphasise the ever-widening digital divide that faces many of the UK’s population.
A survey conducted by Lloyds bank in 2019 found that workers in manufacturing, hospitality and retail were identified as being the least digitally skilled, a fact made more prominent during the pandemic with employees in those sectors accounting for more than half of furloughed employees across all industries. I would say we were heading into a digital skills shortage before the pandemic hit, all that the pandemic has done is highlight it more and at a rapid rate.
Are you worried about whether your digital skills are lacking? Ascentis have created a digital skills test on their website which is based on both the government website guidelines and their own digital skills qualification that they provide.
Click here to take the digital skills test.