Two thirds of UK organisations facing digital skills gap

A report by Microsoft, Goldsmiths UCL finds that 44% of UK-based leaders fear the negative effects of a lack of digital skills

Over two thirds (69%) of surveyed UK leaders believe that their organisation is currently facing a digital skills gap, according to a new report conducted by Microsoft and Goldsmiths, University of London.

Additionally, 44% of the 600 leaders surveyed indicated that they fear the current lack of digital skills in their organisation will have a negative impact on their organisation’s success.

This feeling is shared across other tiers of the organisation, with 63% out of the 2,000 surveyed employees saying that they believe they do not have the appropriate digital skills to fulfil new and emerging roles in their industry.

The report found that the most significant barriers faced by organisations when addressing the skills gap were cost (37%), a lack of skills investment strategy (28%), and a lack of knowledge on which skills initiatives to focus on (23%).

Microsoft’s chief learning officer Simon Lambert described digital skills as “the currency of digital transformation”.

“For individuals, organisations and the UK as a whole, they will play a vital role in unlocking the way forward,” he added.

“At a time when digital innovation is accelerating, we see it as our responsibility to help people acquire the right skills to succeed – be that for their own benefit, to boost the performance for the organisations they work for or to future-proof the UK’s competitiveness on the global stage,” said Lambert.

Investment in digital skills will be important to the country’s economic recovery following COVID-19, according to 80% of UK leaders, while 78% said that a large pool of digital talent will be essential to driving UK competitiveness.

The findings, which were revealed during Microsoft’s Digital Skills Week, come weeks after the tech giant launched a new campaign that aims to help 1.5 million UK citizens build careers in technology over the next five years.

Get On 2021, which is supported by KPMG, Unilever, and the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), aims to address the widening digital skills gap in the UK tech sector as well as accelerate technology adoption, drive productivity, and enhance competitiveness.

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