TJ Newsflash: 7 September

Here’s is the latest research and news round up from TJ’s editor, Debbie Carter

Two-thirds of UK businesses face a digital skills gap

Two-thirds of businesses are facing a digital skills gap in their workforce, according to new research. Yet nine in ten (89%) employees are motivated to acquire new digital skills, according to the new 2023 State of Digital Adoption report from technology company, Userlane. Some of the most sought-after skills are data analysis and interpretation (19%), use of AI (17%) and knowledge of online learning platforms (17%). 

This drive to improve digital skillsets reflects the challenges employees currently face regarding digital adoption. Despite over half (53%) reporting that their software usage has gone up in the past year, almost all (90%) are experiencing challenges with using new applications in their work. The report revealed that the average UK employee is losing 2.33 hours per week due to these challenges, with 53% losing over an hour per week. A quarter have felt overwhelmed or stressed as a result. This isn’t good news for businesses, as 68% of employees see stress-free software usage as important to their overall happiness at work, with a further 90% linking it to productivity.

Additionally, just 62% believe their business is providing them with sufficient training, while a similar number (65%) believe they have the right IT support. Just over half (51%) reported that remote working has forced them to solve software-related issues by themselves.  Communication is also an issue – just one-in-six (62%) feel their business explains plans for digital transformation clearly enough. 

Employees are also regularly asked by others for assistance with technology. Nearly half (46%) of Gen Z staff said they’ve been asked to help executives or higher-level management.

Read the full report here

Managers are unable to stretch their employees’ skills – says new data

Recent research from Degreed has uncovered a gap between how managers care about their team’s learning and development, and what they can practically offer their employees. Almost 7-in-10 employees feel that their managers care about them as a person and their career growth, yet over a quarter of employees globally (26%) felt that their manager didn’t meaningfully support their professional growth over the past 12 months. 

The findings, part of the How the Workforce Learns 2023 report, highlight an opportunity for improvement for managers and for L&D teams building manager training programmes. As well as wanting to develop employees, managers are offering their teams time at work to learn – according to 70% of respondents. 

The missing link is in learning experiences beyond compliance and job-related needs. Most employees (70%) turn to their managers to learn skills for compliance and to fulfil job requirements. Yet, managers are well positioned to futureproof their teams and recommend learning opportunities that will extend their skills and employability in an ever-changing future. 

Currently, only 34% of respondents said that their manager is recommending learning resources to them and fewer still, 31%, were offered practical opportunities to stretch skills and reinforce learning. For learning to be engaging and lifelong, managers need to expand their remit beyond mandatory training to upskilling and reskilling that considers the career aspirations of their teams and future business needs. 

Click here to access the full report.

Good managers are trustworthy, respectful and fair, survey reveals

New research by HR software provider Ciphr has revealed the top 20 most important skills and attributes of a good manager, according to UK employees.

Being trustworthy was voted the top managerial quality by over two-thirds (69%) of the 1,000 people polled, closely followed by being respectful and treating everyone fairly (66%).

Other essential attributes that employees think good managers need to possess are honesty and authenticity, a positive attitude, and being reliable and consistent with their teams (62%, 61% and 60% respectively).

Friendliness was another top pick for many of those surveyed (58%), while others want a compassionate and supportive manager (56%), and one that leads by example (56%).

Over half also rated a manager as being ‘good’ if they can demonstrate that they are an effective communicator, a collaborative team player, organised, open to feedback, and an empathic listener. Employees also want their managers to show both recognition and appreciation of others.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, behavioural skills that govern how managers act and interact with others prove to be the most important managerial traits to most employees (working at all levels).

View the results of the research here

UK Government provides a new resource to help students build cyber skills  

Today, the government has urged schools to take advantage of free resources that will help set students up for careers in cyber. The new Cyber Explorers Programme allows students to explore a variety of engaging and challenging cyber scenarios, collect virtual badges, and learn tips and tricks from the Cyber Ranger and experts in the Cyber Squad, with the aim to reduce the cyber security skills gap that is currently found in half of all UK businesses.

Cyber Minister Viscount Camrose said: The UK’s growing cyber sector is where the technological innovations and digital discoveries of the future will start. That’s why we’re focused on breaking down the barriers to entry, and creating new opportunities for young people to gain the skills and knowledge that could kick-start exciting careers in cyber.”

Read more about Cyber Explorers here