Mind the gap : UK workplaces create technology gap for employees

Samsung Electronics has today revealed that the digital divide is alive and well in the UK workplace, with one in five Briton’s citing that they do not have the basic IT facilities to carry out their day-to-day job for their employer.

In the Samsung survey, which was undertaken in partnership with YouGov amongst 1000 UK respondents, the average UK employee believed that their IT skills were average at best, with five per cent of the population believing them to be poor.

The survey results also highlighted that 38 per cent of UK respondents have no method of feeding back on the IT that they are provided to do their jobs.

The importance of technology in UK workplaces was also highlighted, with one in three Britons feeling they can’t function at work without technology.

This feeling most commonly occurred amongst employees in the financial services industry, where 75 per cent of the workforce believes they wouldn’t be unable to function without their existing technology.

Graham Paterson, IT Business Director, Samsung IT commented on the research, “In today’s knowledge economy, most of us now use more technology than ever before in our jobs.

However, our survey findings indicate that many employees believe their IT skills need to be further bolstered by both training and access to new technologies in order to help us to do our jobs.

Furthermore, it seems that one fifth of employees do not currently feel that they are given access to the technology needed for them to complete their work.

This would be a prime area for businesses to lose money through either loss of productivity and poor processes.” Other key findings:
· 10 per cent of UK employees believe that their company’s IT system is currently poor, and 37 per cent believe it to be average
· 11 per cent of employees are allowed to remote work, and 10 per cent are provided with a home PC
· 19 per cent of employers invest in new IT “only when absolutely necessary” and 8 per cent do it “hardly ever”
· The biggest benefits highlighted from technology introduction in the workplace focus on improving efficiency (69 per cent), increasing competitiveness (26 per cent), and creating more working space (21 per cent)
· UK employees believe that the biggest technology revolutions of the next few years will focus on developing green working practices (24 per cent), increasing fraud prevention (26 per cent) and that all users will end up having mobile working devices (18 per cent)

Paterson continued: “Whilst the digital divide has been heavily reduced at a social level, we believe that for some it is alive and well in UK workplaces. Our survey results suggest that organisations need to ensure IT policies are more closely aligned with employee activity and business strategy. This would help to enhance productivity and ultimately eliminate a major cause of employee frustration in the workplace.

“Interestingly, according to eSkills UK, PC users in Britain are currently ranked first in Europe for their general IT skills. However, we believe that there is still much work to be done in British workplaces to ensure that this continues to be true in future.”

Top suggestions for employers wishing to improve the technology skills of their staff:
- Provide appropriate training and feedback mechanisms, to ensure employees are up-to-date with their IT skills
- Work with your employees, to develop internal qualifications to ensure skills are kept up to date
- Ensure IT training builds skills to impact business performance, this will ensure employees have the right skills to support business objectives
- Never underestimate the value of simple IT training

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