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Businesses alarmed by digital skills shortage

13 Jun 2016

Responding to a report from the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, suggesting that while 90% of jobs require digital skills, 12.6 million UK adults do not have them, Seamus Nevin, Head of Employment and Skills Policy at the Institute of Directors, said: 

“The figures from the Commons Science and Technology Committee’s report are alarming. The digital skills gap is already costing our economy £63bn a year and as the economy and workplace evolve, digital skills are becoming even more important.

“This report shows the need for businesses to invest more in training British workers. We also must make sure tomorrow's workforce is leaving school or university with the digital skills that employers require. Just as importantly, we must enable people already in employment to retrain or up-skill in order to meet the demands of the changing workplace.

“The IoD has called for the government to increase the use of technology in education — such as use of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses) — to provide training at much lower costs and improve access to learning for all. We have also suggested the creation of tax incentives to encourage and enable people at all stages of their career to return to education and learn new skills”.

“The Committee says the UK needs another three quarters of a million workers with digital skills by next year. In order to meet the immediate shortfall, businesses must be able to access workers with the right skills from abroad.”

In April, the IoD released a major report arguing significant changes to education and life-long learning were needed to enable the UK to adapt to rapid advances in technology and automation. The IoD’s Chairman, Lady Barbara Judge, in a piece for the Sunday Telegraphyesterday said that society needs to make “a concerted effort to upskill and reskill its population, and not leave a whole generation ill-equipped to meet the new reality”.

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