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UK SMEs are prioritising investing in technology over upskilling

(Image credit: Image source: Shutterstock/violetkaipa)

Investing in new technology is more important for business owners in the UK than upskilling their workforce. That's according to new reserach from Adecco after polling some 500 managers, directors and SME business owners.

More than half (52 per cent) would prioritise technology investment, while a quarter (24 per cent) would focus on upskilling their workforce.

The ratio is somewhat different among middle managers and directors, where 28 and 33 per cent, respectively, would focus on tech over upskilling. Middle managers are more likely to think that all this new tech will need more training and workforce development. At the same time, almost half (43 per cent) of businesses claim they can’t afford relevant training.

Middle management is better at understanding the advantages of technology, as well, as more of them claim new tech can improve workforce flexibility.

Business owners, on the other hand, are more focused on productivity, efficiency and effectiveness.

Commenting on the results, Shelley Preston, Head of Adecco Retail, said: “While it’s important to invest in technology, it's concerning that the majority of business owners prioritise this over investing in upskilling their workforce. Especially because all of the benefits they believe technology can bring to the workforce, including increased productivity, will only materialise if their employees have the right skills to work alongside machines. The key to success is having a cohesive technology and upskilling strategy.”