UK to need almost a million of digitally skilled workers next year

A new report by the Commons Science and Technology Committee on the state of digital skills in the UK, among the general public, teachers and professionals, is mildly depressing.

According to the BBC, members of Parliament have called for urgent action, otherwise the country will be facing a productivity and competitiveness crisis.

The report says that approximately 12.6 million adults in the country are lacking basic digital skills. The definition of a 'digital skill' is vague, but basically means people who have it know their way around a computer, know how to use the internet and "to navigate knowingly through the negative and positive elements of online activity and make informed choices about the content and services they use".

Another 5.8 million have never used the internet.

There are big problems in UK's schools, when it comes to digital skills, it was said, including “stubborn digital exclusion” and “systematic problems”. More than a fifth (22 per cent) of IT equipment in schools is ineffective, and just over a third (35 per cent) of teachers are qualified for the position.

Schools are missing almost a third (30 per cent) of computer science teachers.

The problem worsens when looking at the workforce – the UK will be missing 745,000 workers with digital skills by next year, and nine out of ten (90 per cent) of job positions require some extent of digital skills.

All things considered, this could cost the UK economy approximately £63 billion a year in lost income.

"The UK leads Europe on tech, but we need to take concerted action to avoid falling behind. We need to make sure tomorrow's workforce is leaving school or university with the digital skills that employers need," BBC cited the committee's chairwoman, Nicole Blackwood.

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