Digital skills shortage hampers growth

A lack of digital skills is affecting business productivity and growth, according to the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC).

More than 4 in 5 (84%) firms say digital and IT skills are more important than 2 years ago, however 76% say they are facing a digital skill shortage.

Adverse effects of skills shortages include:

  • increased workload for existing staff(52%)
  • higher operating costs(29%)
  • difficulty meeting customer needs (28%).

Barriers to solving the problem include:

  • no time for staff training(41%)
  • identifying the right training(32%)
  • cost of training(25%).

Adam Marshall, director general of the BCC, said:

“The evidence is clear: better digital skills make firms more productive and a lack of digital skills holds them back.

“Businesses themselves need to do a lot more to tackle the digital skills shortages they face and their leaders need to be alive to the fact that a failure to tackle this issue will have an impact on their bottom line.

“Too many firms are stuck in an unproductive cycle, where the failure to take action has serious consequences.”

Government help

The government has created a digital strategy designed to help people get the skills businesses need and help business exploit digital opportunities. The strategy aims to give training to 2.5 million people by 2020. For businesses, the plan is to create 5 international hubs in emerging markets to connect UK companies and local tech firms.

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