Sector data on the biggest digital skills gaps

54% of UK labour force (c.21.7m people) cannot complete all twenty tasks that industry and government agree are essential for work. However, about half of these (c.11m) are just shy of full proficiency, confident with between seventeen and nineteen of the essential tasks.

If every organisation took steps to train people in the top four Essential Digital Skills gaps in their sector, we could make giant strides towards the whole workforce have the full suite of digital skills..

FutureDotNow has worked with Lloyds Bank and the data found in the 2023 Consumer Digital Index to provide sector specific analysis and support targeted action.

UK wide data

How many working-age adults across the full UK labour force can do all 20 work tasks?


54% (c. 21.7M)

cannot complete all 20 essential tasks


46% (c. 18.5M)

an complete all 20 essential tasks

But 27% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top 4 missing tasks across the UK workforce:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools 
(e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 31% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 24% Being safe and legal online
3. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 22% Transacting
4. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 22% Communicating

This gap is seen, in varying levels, in every sector of UK industry. Find out which are the most pressing gaps in each industry sector.

 

Construction

49%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

51%

can do all essential tasks

But 26% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the construction sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools 
(e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 27% Problem solving
2. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 21% Being safe and legal online
3. Securely access, synchronise and share information at work across different devices (e.g. manage email, calendar or appointment system via different devices) 21% Communicating
4. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 19% Being safe and legal online
Education

48%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

52%

can do all essential tasks

But 33% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the education sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools 
(e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 26% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 15% Being safe and legal online
3. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 14% Communicating
4.

Access salary and tax information digitally
(e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45)

13% Being safe and legal online
Engineering

47%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

53%

can do all essential tasks

But 28% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the engineering sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools 
(e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 24% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 23% Being safe and legal online
3. Identify secure Wi-Fi networks to connect to (e.g. Wi-Fi networks where a unique password is required, trusted source or padlock next to Wi-Fi network) 19% Being safe and legal online
4. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 14% Communicating
Financial Services

38%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

62%

can do all essential tasks

But 30% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the financial services sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 12% Communicating
2. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 11% Problem solving
3. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 11% Being safe and legal online
4. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 11% Transacting
Government

46%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

54%

can do all essential tasks

But 28% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the government sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 27% Problem solving
2. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 19% Communicating
3. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 16% Being safe and legal online
4. Update my device software/operating systems when necessary to prevent viruses and other risks (e.g. enabling automatic updates, or installing when prompted to do so) 15% Being safe and legal online
Manufacturing and automotive

50%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

50%

can do all essential tasks

But 25% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the manufacturing and automotive sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 25% Problem solving
2. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 24% Communicating
3. Use workplace digital tools to create, share and collaborate with colleagues (e.g. Microsoft Teams, OneDrive, G-Suite, Office 365, WeTransfer, DropBox, WebEx, Slack) 22% Communicating
4. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 20% Transacting
Media and advertising

33%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

67%

can do all essential tasks

But 17% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the media and advertising sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 17% Transacting
2. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 13% Communicating
3. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences 13% Being safe and legal online
4. Update my device software/operating systems when necessary to prevent viruses and other risks (e.g. enabling automatic updates, or installing when prompted to do so) 13% Being safe and legal online
Medical

38%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

62%

can do all essential tasks

But 38% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the medical sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 31% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 24% Being safe and legal online
3. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 19% Transacting
4. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 19% Communicating
Not for profit

47%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

53%

can do all essential tasks

But 34% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the not for profit sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 31% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 18% Being safe and legal online
3. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 17% Transacting
4. Update my device software/operating systems when necessary to prevent viruses and other risks (e.g. enabling automatic updates, or installing when prompted to do so) 12% Being safe and legal online
Public services

54%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

46%

can do all essential tasks

But 34% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the public services sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 28% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 20% Being safe and legal online
3. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 20% Communicating
4. Update my device software/operating systems when necessary to prevent viruses and other risks (e.g. enabling automatic updates, or installing when prompted to do so) 18% Being safe and legal online
Retail

65%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

35%

can do all essential tasks

But 28% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the retail sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools 
(e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 33% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 32% Being safe and legal online
3. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 31% Communicating
4. Update my device software/operating systems when necessary to prevent viruses and other risks (e.g. enabling automatic updates, or installing when prompted to do so) 30% Being safe and legal online
Service industry

59%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

41%

can do all essential tasks

But 23% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the service industry sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 36% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 28% Being safe and legal online
3. I can complete digital records on behalf of, or within my organisation 27% Transacting
4. Update my device software/operating systems when necessary to prevent viruses and other risks (e.g. enabling automatic updates, or installing when prompted to do so) 26% Being safe and legal online
Technology

27%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

73%

can do all essential tasks

But 20% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the technology sector:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Access salary and tax information digitally (e.g. password protected payslips, P60, P45) 13% Transacting
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 8% Being safe and legal online
3. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 7% Communicating
4. Follow my organisation’s IT policies when sharing information internally and externally (e.g. classifying emails/documents, encrypting sensitive information, sharing appropriate information on social media) 7% Handling information and content
Other

55%

cannot do all 20 essential tasks

45%

can do all essential tasks

But 24% can do 17-19 tasks. Targeting the top 4 missing tasks could close this gap significantly.

The top four missing tasks in the other sectors:

Task description % can’t complete Skill area
1. Improve my own and/or the organisation’s productivity using digital tools (e.g. Trello, Microsoft Projects and Planner, Slack) 32% Problem solving
2. Set privacy and marketing settings for websites and my accounts (e.g. managing social media privacy settings, managing cookie settings, updating contact preferences) 29% Being safe and legal online
3. Set up and manage an account on a professional online network/community/job site (e.g. LinkedIn, Total Jobs, Indeed) 27% Communicating
4. Identify secure Wi-Fi networks to connect to (e.g. Wi-Fi networks where a unique password is required, trusted source or padlock next to Wi-Fi network) 25% Being safe and legal online