Digital skills gap: Houses of Parliament and British Chamber of Commerce aligned on economic risk

A recent study by the British House of Commons Science and Technology Committee found that 12.6 million adults in the UK lack basic digital skills, with a cost to the economy of £63 billion per year in lost GDP.

This is mirrored by a recent survey conducted by the British Chamber of Commerce which revealed that of 1,400+ businesses across the UK, 84% say digital and IT skills are more important to their business than two years ago, with half (51%) saying these skills are significantly more important.

This is a problem faced by many advanced economies, and when you add the increasingly automated future into the mix, determining the long term economic and societal risks can only be described as a monumental task.

In a 2016 report, the World Economic Forum cites some interesting examples of education innovation in emerging economies that can help close the gap.

In our view, the digital skills gap needs to be addressed through a confluence of smart government policy, a revision of STEM education curricula, and adult training strategies forged between the public and private sector, and perhaps more importantly, out-the-box thinking.

References:

  1. UK Digital Skills Crisis (House of Commons Science and Technology Committee, 2016-17)
  2. Shortage of digital skills hampering business productivity and growth (British Chamber of Commerce, April 2017)
  3. How to close the skills gap: lessons from emerging economies (World Economic Forum, August 2016)

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