Some recent research from Barclays has shown that the UK has fallen behind other nations when it comes to digital skills. Using a variety of attributes to score each nation, the Barclays Digital Development Index ranked 10 countries from around the world according to their ‘digital empowerment,’ with the UK coming in at just 4th, behind Estonia, South Korea, and Sweden.
The statistics found that there seemed to be a disconnect between policies to promote and support digital engagement and the actual confidence in digital skills shown by UK employees. While the UK seemed strong on policies, this was offset by the poor confidence and digital capabilities of UK workers when compared to those in other nations including Chine, the USA, and India.
When it comes to content creation the UK ranks in just 7th place, showing that we are nation more interested in consuming rather than creating digital content. But does this really matter?
Digital skills are important for the economy, but are also key for security, with UK employees shown to be less likely to secure their phones and laptops from data leaks than those in Brazil, South Africa or China. With cyber hacking continuing to be a real issue, this is just one reason why we should all be a little more digitally-minded.
So what can be done about it?
Digital skills training seems important to help the UK keep up with other countries, especially in a post-EU economy. Estonia and South Korea currently lead the way when it comes to vocational and workplace-based digital skills, with the UK trailing in 7th place. Just 38% of UK employees said that their employer offered digital skills training – way below nations like China the U.S. or India.
With a constantly changing digital landscape it is no longer enough to rest on your laurels, instead employers need to be switched on and engaged with the shifting landscape of technology – from social media, smartphones, and even to the future with things like Artificial Intelligence. Change is happening fast and the UK needs to keep up with the pace – which means encouraging more digital skills in the workplace and a culture of continued learning of new skills.