Why Digital Skills Are Important For Employers

UK Employers should invest in digital skills

It’s increasingly becoming harder to survive in today’s world without digital skills. Digital technology has become an integral part of everyday life for most people, from computers and mobile phones to televisions and games consoles. We’re an increasingly inter-connected global society, which makes it entirely understandable that digital skills are becoming more important in the workplace.

Having the digital skills necessary to continue operating the workplace however is not as straightforward as it may seem. The younger generations are likely to have grown up with the fast paced changes in technology, which understandably makes them well equipped for the digital workplace of today.

For older generations however, or simply those who are less interested in technology, may unfortunately have a lack of digital skills that could actually impact upon their career prospects. A report from the House of Lords in 2015 found that there is a significant digital skills shortage. It’s suggestions to combat this included making digital literacy a core subject in schools across the UK along with making the internet accessible to all by considering it as important as a utility.

It can also be incredibly detrimental to employers; a study in 2015 also found that among 1,000 UK workers, 75% believed that digital skills would help to improve the competitive edge of organisations. As such, it would be easy to assume that employers are actively attempting to cultivate digital skills of their workforce.

UK Workers Feel Lacking In Digital Skills

Unfortunately however, it would seem that this is not what employers in the UK are doing. In fact a new study by Course Library has found that half of workers (50%) actually feel that they are underqualified for the digital world of today. They would also like for their employer to invest in training that will increase the digital skills of employees.

With over 1,000 participants between the age of 18 and 64 surveyed, it found that 65.5% were concerned about the digital skills gap that is growing in the UK. On top of this, the exact opposite of employers investing in their employees was found with almost 80% feeling that UK business are not supporting their existing staff in advancing digital skills.

This could be because employers are simply choosing not to invest in their own staff and are instead sourcing more qualified staff elsewhere or are not aware of the benefits of training. The survey also showed that UK employees would be more than willing to undergo training to develop beneficial skills with 90% confirming they would be interested if offered by their employer.

It is important then that business realise the value of training up their existing staff to not only improve their career prospects in the future, but also to reap the benefits that improved digital skills can provide in today’s fast paced digital world.

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Sarah Jubb

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