67% of businesses across the UK have unfilled digital vacancies

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and Tata Consultancy Services latest research shows that UK businesses expect digital skills requirements to skyrocket in the next three years, while less than a third believe they’ll be able to fill digital vacancies.

The study titled Delivering Skills for the New Economy surveyed 250 companies and it highlights the UK’s rapidly accelerating digital talent gap as new technologies transform the way we live and work. According to recent figures, the UK is losing out on £63bn a year as businesses struggle to find people with digital skills.

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According to the study, 67% of businesses across the UK have unfilled digital vacancies. One in five is unable to find employees with basic computer skills – including writing documents and using spreadsheets. Advanced digital skills are in greater demand in all sectors, with 55% of larger firms reporting challenges in recruiting software engineers and 61% struggling to hire data analysts.

Fishing the same pool for talent

Most businesses surveyed are taking action to tackle their unfilled digital vacancies with 56% of businesses confident they are spending enough on addressing their digital skills needs right now. But in reality, 46% are fishing in the same pool, by trying to hire outside of their organisation as the main way to access the digital skills they need.

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“In today’s digital economy, there are two key focuses for sustainable talent development: encouraging students to understand what it takes to pursue a successful career in technology, and giving employees the best possible training opportunities,” said Shankar Narayanan, Country Head, TCS UK & Ireland. “TCS is focused on developing STEM skills in communities all around the UK. Our skills programmes like Digital Explorers, which help children connect day-to-day interactions with consumer technology to the IT tools and skills which power them, are helping to grow the UK’s digital talent pool. This new research with the CBI makes it clear that for the UK economy to remain competitive, it’s important to urgently invest in reskilling the current workforce and inspiring the next generation to pursue careers in technology.”

CBI recommendations include:

  • Government must set an ambitious target for the entire UK workforce to have basic digital skills by 2025 and work with businesses to engage with relevant academic and technical education institutions
  • Businesses must better understand their digital skills needs and coordinate with local policymakers, businesses and learning providers to create local skills provision that address their skills demands
  • Ensure digital skills are at the heart of the National Retraining Scheme, including targeted support for software engineering and data analysis skills.

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Andrew Ross

As a reporter with Information Age, Andrew Ross writes articles for technology leaders; helping them manage business critical issues both for today and in the future