The British Chamber of Commerce has joined the growing clamour for more skills for the UK’s digital economy. It’s early yet but it will be interesting to see what the major political parties offer in terms of skilling and re-skilling in the area, assuming (as seems safe) that the government succeeds in getting its vote of no confidence in the Commons.
The figures the organisation has researched are stark even if some of them are obvious. Of the 1400 companies surveyed for the report, four out of five said digital skills had become more important to their business over the last two years. Prime among the skills needed were communication through digital channels, management of digital information and of course basic IT skills.
However, only 21 per cent of respondents said they had enough skills. Three per cent said their resource of skills was critically low, a small number but in 2017 a surprising one. Understandably the BCC is now calling for more skills for the private sector and you can imagine the public sector will be echoing this.
Whether an incoming government will be able to prioritise this is another question given Brexit negotiations and Parliament going into purdah imminently because of the election. New Statesman Tech will report on anything the parties say on tech skills in their manifestos.
Commentators considered the digital opportunity was substantial. Caroline Worboys, Deputy Chair of the DMA, said: “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.
“Our experience is this can only happen through a combination of both digital skills 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.”
The government has also called for more skills to match its digital ambitions.