SMEs continue to face a skills shortage in their workforce

The British Chambers of Commerce releases its latest research into the UK’s Digital Economy, highlighting the need for more data and digital skills in many businesses and sectors.

Digital skills are increasingly important to the operation of businesses in the UK but companies are facing a shortage in their workforce which is hampering productivity, according to the results the British Chambers of Commerce Digital Economy Survey.

The survey of more than 1,400 businesses across the UK finds 84 per cent of firms say digital and IT skills are more important to their business than two years ago, half (51 per cent) say these are significantly more important.

However, the survey also discovers that more than three-in-four businesses are facing a shortage of digital skills in their workforce, half 52 (per cent) report a slight shortage, 21 per cent a significant one and 3 per cent a critical shortage.

Caroline Worboys, deputy chair of the DMA, says, ‘Technology continues to change our day-to-day lives and the knock-on effect on the UK economy is resulting in a lack of digital skill. The latest research from the British Chambers of Commerce highlights the growing rise in businesses seeing this shortage in skills and with new data protection laws and banking regulation on the horizon, it’s easy to see how this challenge will increase.

‘UK businesses are already seeing the contribution that AI and machine learning can offer, not to mention the opportunity to grow the economy using these skills and position ourselves at the forefront of the next phase of this digital revolution. The only way this will come to fruition is through education and training, ensuring we have the digital skills we need both within and entering our industry.’

Worboys concludes, ‘Our experience is this can only happen through a combination of both digital and domain expertise, combining both the raw data, science, and technological skills, with the understanding of the advertising and marketing industry needed to utilise this knowledge. We are here to help businesses achieve this by delivering practical skills, education and training that’s taught by practitioners.’

Further reading on the skills shortage

Owen Gough, SmallBusiness UK

Owen Gough

Owen was a reporter for Bonhill Group plc writing across the and titles before moving on to be a Digital Technology reporter for the

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Digital economy