A recent report by the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) has indicated that over three-quarters of UK companies are suffering from a shortage of digital skills within their organisations. The survey, which spoke to 1,400 UK businesses found that 52% of responders are experiencing a slight shortage, while 21% described the shortage as ‘significant’ and 3% as ‘critical’.
Looking at the detail
It’s clear there is a genuine issue here, and one which has been echoed by many other reports. In this instance, the BCC survey found that 84% of companies felt IT and digital skills were a more important part of their business than in 2015, while 51% of those surveyed cited them as being ‘significantly’ more important.
Some of the skills which have been identified as being most important are ‘communicating and connecting through digital channels’ (71%) and ‘management of digital information’ (69%). So, while some of the shortages affect all staff company-wide – 72% stated that basic computer skills were an issue for example – there is also a clear opportunity for contractors with specialist digital expertise to bring those skills to the party.
Wider effects of the shortage
The BCC survey also asked questions around the impact of the skills shortage on other areas of the business. It found that 52% of companies were suffering from increased workload on other staff members, 29% experienced higher operating costs and 28% felt that customer demands were not being met as they should be. And when it came to understanding what was stopping these companies from addressing these shortages in the first place – 41% cited lack of time for staff training, 32% were not able to identify the right type of training, and 25% had issues with the costs involved.
Commenting on the findings, Director General of the British Chambers of Commerce Adam Marshall, (BCC), said, “The evidence is clear: better digital skills make firms more productive, and a lack of digital skills holds them back.” So it’s definitely time for contractors with the required skills to make the most of the opportunity.