Skills gap – 28% of the UK workforce is underqualified

Jobbio's Aoibhinn McBride explains why the skills gap is the real problem in the technology hiring landscape

Forget economic downturns or mass restructuring. The real issue at the crux of the tech hiring landscape is the skills gap, something that is becoming increasingly pronounced in the UK.

According to different reports commissioned by the UK government, including the Levelling Up the United Kingdom white paper and the Department of Education’s Skills for Jobs policy paper, the skills gap is one of the main factors getting in the way of economic prosperity across all sectors, including tech.

It’s estimated that if UK businesses cannot adequately upskill current staff or secure new hires with sufficient technical skills, it could cost the UK economy more than £240 billion by 2026.

3 tech roles hiring across the UK

Moving forward

So, what can be done to address this issue?

The OECD Skills for Jobs report has identified that 28 per cent of the UK workforce is already underqualified.

When comparing the technical skills of UK workers with those of their U.S. counterparts, the report found that while the U.S. has an adequate number of workers with digital skills including computer programming, the UK is struggling to find the right candidates to fill technical roles.

Separate data compiled by AND Digital has revealed that 58 per cent of workers have never received digital skills upskilling from their employer, highlighting that organisations need to do more when it comes to learning and development.

“For businesses to be fit for a digital present and future, they need individuals and teams with the skills to envision, design, test and iterate product ideas fast. This means mastering product management and new delivery skills, building prototypes at pace while scaling products quickly,” says Stephen Paterson, executive for consulting at AND Digital.

“What’s more, organisations need to make greater use of data to ensure products and services succeed in their market, delighting customers at every touchpoint. In order to do this individuals and teams need to develop and acquire the skills to develop an ‘engineering’ and ‘data’ mindset to understand users and their challenges, building exceptional digital experiences throughout the customer journey.

“Though none of these skills are strictly technical in nature, they are key to our digital future and necessary.”

3 tech roles hiring right now

Softly does it

It’s worth noting that the skills gap doesn’t just relate to hard or technical skills. Soft skills are becoming increasingly important within the workplace, especially as AI tools are adopted and soft or cognitive skills (AKA the skills machines are yet to master) are in demand.

According to the World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report strategic/critical thinking, and self-efficacy skills (resilience, flexibility and agility), are paramount.

This correlates with research conducted by IBM which identified that soft skills should be revised and reinvigorated every seven and a half years to stay relevant within the workplace.

And while upskilling or learning new digital skills from scratch will require a more formal approach, the good news is that you can start working on your soft skills in your everyday job.

Do you have the capacity to work on a project with someone on your team or in another department to develop your teamwork skills? Or perhaps you’ve noticed a trend emerging from data and can adapt this into a business strategy: critical and creative thinking boxes ticked.

Brushing up on your soft skills can even be as simple as leading a team meeting if you usually shy away from presenting, or speaking in front of a large group of people.

Ready to put your skills to the test and find your next role in tech? Head to the Information Age Job Board today

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Skills Gap
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