Digital skills gap might hamper UK’s economic recovery, report reveals

Digital skills gap might hamper UK’s economic recovery, report reveals

by Nandita Bhardwaj

The economic recovery of Britain from coronavirus crisis is at risk from an impending digital skills crisis caused by a sharp decline in the number of young individuals taking IT courses.

A research by the Learning and Work Institute, UK, found that below 50 percent of employers in UK believed that new applicants to the workforce had been arriving with the required advanced digital skillset.

The gap between the growing digital skills demand as well as the supply of adequately trained employees was already costing the economy several billions of pounds, and the potentially catastrophic disparity might expand over time if there is not quick action.

The Learning and Work Institute, an independent policy, R&D organization, stated that the number of youth opting for IT subjects at GCSE had also dropped by 40 percent since 2015. While the numbers opting A levels, further apprenticeships as well as education courses had also been declining. 

The report stated that there was also an immense gender gap in digital skills, with young girls accounting for just 22% of GCSE entrants in Information Technology subjects, 16% of undergraduate begins in computer science, nearly 23% of apprenticeship starts in ICT, and 17% of A level applicants.

The research further discovered that nearly 60 percent of businesses thought their reliance on technically advanced digital skills was set to enhance in the next five years. Whereas, 88 per cent of the young population realized digital skills could be important for their careers.

Meanwhile, just 48 percent of employers believed that young population were leaving full-time education with adequate advanced digital skills and around 76 per cent of businesses thought a scarcity of digital skills might hit their profitability.

The report was commissioned by one of the leading charities in UK, namely Workskills UK, which works in partnership with governments, education and employers, with prime focus on apprenticeships as well as skills for getting young population into work.

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Nandita Bhardwaj

Having a marketing management post graduate degree under her belt, Nandita spent considerable time working in the field of recruitment. However, her real interest lay in playing with words and soon enough, she commenced her career in the field of content creation. Currently, she authors insightfuRead more...