Verastar reports on the findings of a new study, which suggest that a majority of UK-based businesses believe that their employees require more digital skills to thrive in the workplace.

Digital skills gap

Increasingly, digital skills are fast becoming extremely valuable to companies across the world. Data from Accenture, shows that 22% of the global economy’s gross domestic product (GDP) can be attributed to some form of digital skills, capital and goods and services. Accenture found that digital’s share of British GDP measured above 30% in 2015 and this should increase to around 35% by 2020.

In its January 2016 Digital Skills for the UK Economy report, the UK government found that “a shortage in suitable digital skills for digital jobs persists in the UK labour market.” Whitehall suggested that 72% of large British companies and 49% of UK-based small to medium-sized enterprises are “suffering tech skills gaps.” The report further argued, “there is a need for action to be taken to re-skill the workforce continuously to ensure that new market segments that require digital skills can be exploited.”

Providing digital training

The latest research from Barclay’s found that 47% of UK employers believe that if their staff developed a higher level of digital skills, their businesses would prove more productive. On average, UK companies are spending £109 per employee, per year on digital skills training, but 34% of respondents say they find it difficult to implement initiatives to upskill their workers.

Barclay’s found that many UK businesses are focusing on training younger employees. Two in five (40%) do not invest in training up mid-level staff, while 45% of respondents believe that older staff are slow to acquire new digital skills. Staff polled by Barclay’s expressed similar sentiments, with 59% fearing replacement in their job by younger, more digitally-capable professionals.

Developing true digital confidence

Barclay’s UK CEO Ashok Vaswani said: “The digital revolution is having a profound effect on our lives by dramatically changing the way we live, work and interact with one another. Although in many ways this is empowering, it can also be challenging, because it requires people and businesses to acquire, retain and consistently develop skills and understanding to truly benefit.

“Together with government, businesses and society as a whole, we need to raise our sights beyond basic inclusion and aim to create a Britain of true digital confidence at all levels of the workforce. We are at a tipping point when it comes to digital skills and the UK must act now to ensure we are not left behind.” Over a quarter of businesses questioned named ‘data security’ as a key digital skill, suggesting that the ability to understand data and device protection is vital for new staff.

As the world’s digital economy keeps expanding, it is vital that UK SMEs implement initiatives to develop their employees’ digital confidence. By providing training in vital areas such as data security, small businesses can equip staff with the essential digital skills they require to prove productive in the modern workplace. Small businesses would be advised to invest in the tools they need to cultivate digital skills. Kinex, a brand operated under the Verastar umbrella, provides the comprehensive broadband services companies require to engage with the UK’s thriving digital economy.


Verastar is a leading provider of essential business services to micro SMEs, operating under the following brands: kinex, Clear Business Water, Titan Telecom, Marble Telecom, Economy Gas and 118777 Limited. Our business model is focused on providing a spectrum of consolidated services that disrupt traditional markets and create great savings, efficiencies and value for our customers.