A new report has suggested UK employers are struggling to hire workers with strong digital skills.

Digital skills gap still a major problem among UK businesses

A new report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills has suggested that UK employers are still struggling to hire workers with strong digital skills.

Lacking in creativity

In this technological age, where we are all digitally connected through social media platforms, email chains and app technology, it is becoming increasingly crucial for workers to know the ins and outs of the digital sector. This is most apparent in the creative sector, where there are currently 33 vacancies per 1,000 jobs - much higher than the national average of 24. The industry may have seen accelerated growth in the last five years, and the report states that 36,000 new roles will be created by 2022, but increasing digitisation has placed a strain on skills.

Look at online content, for example. Should creative teams create it in isolation; you now need social media to promote it, an interactive website to maintain customer engagement and possibly even an app to target certain demographics.

So if the digital skills gap is widening among small and large companies all over the UK, what is the solution? The report states that the main focus should be on education, whether it be schools encouraging young students to develop this skillset, or whether it is universities working with employers to offer courses on various internship and apprenticeship schemes.

New schemes

It is therefore hardly a surprise that various organisations are looking to help integrated skills in global companies. The Digital Skills Academy recently unveiled its International BSc (Hons) in Digital Technology, Design and Innovation, which will be launched this October and already has participants from the USA, UK, Ireland and Africa.

Josh Abbott, permanent team lead for retail IT at ReThink Recruitment, said: "The need for multichannel expertise within the IT space is only going to continue to rise… Having engagement from the businesses that are likely to gain from it will be the essential point. When it comes to hiring skilled permanent IT staff there is a real war for talent and having the ability and procedures in place to grow your own talent is essential to forward planning and maintaining a strong workforce."

Already, large companies such as John Lewis and Marks & Spencer have highlighted the challenge they face in recruiting staff with the suitable digital skills, and over 500 employers are now supporting programmes such as the Tech Partnership that looks to help employees further.

It is obvious that a lot of work still needs to be done, but when you consider that seven per cent of adults in 2014 came online within the last two years, you can begin to appreciate that there is much to do be done to upskill individuals. By boosting digital skills, you are not only establishing yourself a healthy workforce, but one whose experience of work will be enhanced. Digital versatility and accessibility really are the buzzwords for employers living in today's landscape.

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