Digital skills gap damaging UK economy

More than a million small businesses and 12 million people do not have the necessary skills to be succeed in the digital era, according to the latest research from Go.On UK.

The charity has produced what it calls a digital exclusion heatmap, highlighting the areas where people are most likely to miss out on the digital revolution, which shows that men are less likely to be digitally disadvantaged than women.​

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Over a third of the population in Wales do not have the five basic digital skills, while London, Scotland and East Anglia, come top of the league with over 80 per cent of people having those skills. 

The report from Go.On UK said: “Without basic digital skills, these SMEs are missing out on their share of the UK’s annual website sales of £193 billion. Not only that, but they also risk losing potential business because they can’t be found online, may be missing an opportunity to deliver a better, more efficient service to their customers, and may not be maximising their competitiveness.

“If the UK is to become the competitive, successful global economy and society that we need to be, then we urgently need to work together to give these…organisations the skills they need to participate fully in the digital world.”

The research found that 23 per cent of businesses lack the ability to use search engines, send and receive online messages, complete online transactions and tap into digital solutions to solve problems. In addition, one in five people are unable to do simple things like send a Facebook message, apply for a job online, pay bills with an app, or even check what day the bins are collected on their local council website.

A survey of over 4,000 people nationwide to assess their skills, coupled with data about education, income, health and internet access, have all helped build the exclusion heatmap.


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