5 Things Every Company Should Know About the Digital Skills Gap

As we reported in June of 2017 – the Digital skills gap is estimated to cost the UK economy £63 billion a year.

The main cause of this is the rapid growth of the tech industry in recent years, with companies finding it increasingly difficult to source staff with the required skills

But the government’s own report on digital skills in the UK found that almost 90% of new jobs now require digital skills to some degree.

So, what is the Digital Skills Gap, and how can organisations combat it?

The impact on your business

The British Chambers of Commerce found 52% of firms say that skills shortages are increasing the workload for existing staff – which only further disrupts productivity.

29% of firms reported higher operating costs, and 28% say that the skills shortages are causing difficulties meeting customer requirements.

It’s clear that digital skills make firms more productive, so how can employers find and retain the best digital talent?

Making the most of the Apprenticeship Levy

According to the Open University, the lack of skilled available workers is costing companies around £2.2 billion a year in higher salaries and temporary resourcing.

With the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the government presented a new way for organisations to bring in new skills. But as it stands, £1.28bn that’s been paid into the levy isn’t being used, and organisations only have a year to put it to use.

Research by Evolve & West London College found that only 1 in 3 employers are making the most of the Levy to train new and existing staff, and with fewer than 4 in 10 employers saying they fully understand the levy – it’s no surprise.

The Impact of Brexit on UK Digital Talent

Until recently, skilled European workers filled many roles with a large demand across different industries, but particularly in IT and Nursing.

With the uncertainty still looming due to Brexit, the number of foreign tech job applications is down a reported 50% since the referendum to leave the EU.

So, if skilled workers from abroad are put off by looming immigration reform – the Digital skills will have to come from within the UK.

Tech Skills are evolving quickly

Deloitte found that just 12% of executives think that graduates have enough digital skills – down from 20% last year.

This demonstrates one of the key factors of the digital skills gap. The skills that young people are developing can often be outdated by the time they enter the job market.

Particularly on technical courses such as computer science, the syllabus can’t keep up with the pace at which the industry develops. With a minimal focus on practical experience in many degrees, graduates are finding that their degrees aren’t giving them the employability they were promised.

Young people are key to bridging the digital skills gap

The government set up the new Apprenticeship Levy system in 2017 in part to tackle the digital skills gap, but on a wider scale to reimagine the routes young people can take into work.

As part of this, the government is offering extra incentives for SME’s looking to recruit apprentices, with a focus on 16-18 year olds to further give them skills that will span across their career.

We offer Apprenticeships across a broad range of digital pathways including; Infrastructure Technician, Software Developer and Digital Marketer. To find out how we can help you plug your digital skills gaps, and make the most of your levy funds, contact us on 020 7426 9835 or hello@justit.co.uk