Great businesses are underpowered, like smartphones with a flat battery, because their workforce lack essential digital skills.

An estimated 17.1 million adults (52% of the workforce) lack essential digital skills for work. Our work has revealed limited recognition and understanding of the role essential digital skills play in business productivity, as well as the scale of the ‘hidden middle’, between digital exclusion and advanced digital skills, that is without basic, essential digital skills.

The essential digital skills gap is largely viewed as a social issue. But there is a vital business angle; addressing this is fundamental to business recovery, productivity and prosperity.

This report explores a number of factors that could be enhanced through increased essential digital skills, including the ability to:

  • adopt and benefit from digital transformation
  • help people grow and adapt while fostering a positive workplace culture
  • help organisations adapt to disruption and build resilience
  • demonstrate a strong purpose and brand.

Getting everyone up to the digital start line, equipped with the essential digital skills for work, and addressing the hidden middle is not an impossible problem to crack. This report defines a set of actions that businesses can take to get started.  FutureDotNow, its coalition members, this report and the newly launched Playbook will enable organisations to identify their missing skills and how to power ahead in upskilling. Step out of the middle and join us!