The Digital Skills Gap: 101

By now you have probably all been hearing about something called the digital skills gap and how it is going to create a major issues for companies over the next few years. But what actually is it and why should you care?

So, what is the digital skills gap?

The UK faces a growing shortage of digitally skilled workers. While industry and experts have been discussing this issue for a number of years, the gap has continued to expand.

There is an argument that the UK should be ideally suited to bridging the skills gap. Based on EY’s Attractiveness Survey (2016) the UK is the largest internet-based economy in the world, with London voted as the city, after San Francisco, most likely in becoming a global digital powerhouse.

According to The Commons Science & Technology Committee’s report (2016) the digital skills gap is costing the British economy approximately £63 billion a year in lost GDP. Other reports forecast that a not insignificant 12.6 million adults in the UK lack the basic digital skills required in the modern workplace, going so far as to say that 5.8 million of this number have not even accessed and subsequently used the internet. It has been projected that the UK needs to find an additional 750,000 skilled digital workers just to keep up with the rest of the world.

 Take a look at three of the latest staggering statistics:

"By 2017, 20% of all market leaders will lose their dominant position to a company founded after the year 2000 because of a lack of digital business advantage." 

- Seizing the Digital Business Advantage, Gartner.

"45% of IT executives are experiencing an 'excessive' shortfall in IT talent." 

- International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends Study, CompTIA.

"The biggest area for concern is cyber security, with 63% of respondents finding that the gap is widening." 

- International Technology Adoption and Workforce Trends Study, CompTIA.

How do we fix this? 

Bridging the skills gap is no simple task with research indicating this starts at childhood. A report by 'Digital Skills for Tomorrow's World' has highlighted that parents and the schooling system fail to recognise the opportunities that digital workplace offers. As a result, we are creating the next generation of the ‘digitally unskilled’. The government is now putting in place initiatives to help make digital skills a necessity at school and at home, hoping to create the future of the digital revolution.

But what about those whose education is coming to the end or have already left. How do they go from the digitally unskilled to the digitally skilled and are universities doing enough to help plug the gap? Find out how in our next blog Are universities teaching the right digital skills?

If you are interested in gaining the digital skills to succeed in IT consulting visit our website and see if our graduate programme is for you.

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