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Digital Skills: Holding Back UK Firms?

According to research commissioned by the Digital Eagles at Barclays, 47% of UK firms believe that they would be more productive if there was a higher level of digital skills in their business.

In this day and age, we’re constantly being reminded that technology is rapidly progressing and you don’t want to be left behind. Personally, you might not care if you’re not involved in the latest social media fad or if you can use the latest version of Photoshop to edit your holiday pictures, when the old version you have works just fine. For the sake of your business, however, any views like this must go out of the window when it comes to your work.

As the research shows, attitudes like this brought to work lead to a drop in productivity. By not training with new software and technologies, you’re also not opening the doors to the latest time-saving features, more efficient practices and potential new business.

As Daniel Priestley says, “the human brain can’t distinguish between digital media and real life”. This means that, by leveraging digital solutions like social media, there’s a huge opportunity to extend your brand and visibility digitally to beyond lots more people that you can reach offline. This is an area where the digital skill gap is extremely apparent, with Social Sam saying “it’s amazing how many businesses are still missing out on this huge opportunity, as it’s so accessible, and there’s lots of support for businesses out there who don’t have the resources to manage this themselves”.

According to a report by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), “There is a need for action to be taken to re-skill the workforce continues to ensure new market segments that require digital skills can be exploited”.

40% of recruiters found the over-50s lacked the correct digital skills, showing that older members of the workforce are most likely to be left behind in the continual digitisation of jobs. This immediately puts them at a disadvantage to the “digital natives”, those who have grown up surrounded by this technology. They haven’t had to adapt, they’ve been surrounded by this technology since birth. These “built-in” skills are giving the younger generation an increasing advantage over employees who haven’t embraced and continue to avoid learning new digital skills.

With the UK having the biggest internet-based economy in the world and the rate at which this economy is growing, these skills are not only changing current jobs and industry practices, they’re also creating new markets which are easily exploitable for those with the know how.

Don’t be digitally naïve, be a digital native!