New data on digital skills gap offers economic and business solutions and path to high-tech future

A new report reveals the scale of the workforce skills gap, identifying who’s being left behind – and provides clear steps on what can be done to tackle it.

The UK’s first Essential Digital Skills for Work report reveals that almost 60% of working-age adults cannot complete the 20 digital tasks industry and government agree are essential. Of those, 3.2m people cannot complete any of these essential workplace digital tasks.

These labour force skills gaps have implications for individuals, business and the UK economy. This new report aims to ensure industry leaders are informed and able to take action on skills that could impact performance, productivity and growth.

The Essential Digital Skills for Work report brings together research conducted by Lloyds Bank with analysis and insight form FutureDotNow, the UK’s leading voice on the digital capability of the nation’s workforce.

The report provides the most detailed view yet of who’s embracing digital and who’s being left behind, breaking down levels of digital confidence by sector, business size, region and more.

Additionally, the report includes analysis from FutureDotNow, adding context and clear calls to action to help individual businesses improve the digital confidence and capability of their employees.

Key stats:

  • 59% (23.4 million) of the UK labour force is missing the basics, without at least one of the 20 digital tasks deemed essential for the workplace.
  • c.3.2m million (8%) cannot do any essential digital tasks. This group is more likely to be out of work, of a lower social grade and living with an impairment.
  • The construction sector has the most opportunity for upskilling – only 25% of people can complete all essential digital tasks.
  • In every region of the UK, fewer than 50% of working-age people can complete all 20 work tasks in the Essential Digital Skills framework. London and the South-East are narrowly ahead.
  • 20% of people of working age and not in paid work cannot complete any of the essential digital work tasks suggesting digital skills are a significant barrier to joining the workforce.

Liz Williams MBE, CEO of FutureDotNow says: “The scale of the digital skills gap in the UK labour force mustn’t be underestimated. Addressing these specific skills gap in working-age adults can help solve the real challenges being faced by individuals, industry and the UK economy right now.

“Improving digital capability and confidence across the board would be a huge prosperity multiplier. It would increase income potential for individuals, address labour shortages and help to build the skilled workforce we need for the UK to be a true tech superpower.

“What’s required now is a cross-sector effort from industry, with the support of government, to ensure everyone gets the opportunities they need to gain these essential skills and build the digital confidence necessary to thrive in our digital future.”