Skip to content

Toggle service links

You are here

  1. Home
  2. Professional Learning & Development
  3. Workforce L&D Insight Hub
  4. Digital and technical skills

Digital and technical skills

Whether it is specific job roles, such as Cyber Security Analysts or Software Engineers, or specific skill areas, such as coding or SQL, the digital and technical skills shortage in the UK is growing.

With technology becoming so embedded in our daily work, future workforces need higher digital skills across the board, as functional areas such as finance, sales and marketing all move towards adopting new technologies to create efficiencies and boost capabilities.

Over the coming months, you’ll find useful information, from blog articles to free learning resources, to navigate the digital and technical skills dilemma and help you develop strategies for your organisation.


Free digital skills courses

Did you know that we have a number of free digital skills courses available through OpenLearn, our open educational resources website? With hundreds of study units available, from introductory to master’s level, OpenLearn not only provides free access to our course materials but can also be used to educate employees as part of your L&D strategy, upskilling staff and contributing to their Continuing Professional Development (CPD) at the same time.

Here are some of our digital skills courses available on the OpenLearn website now:


Blog post – Digital skills gap: A shortage across the UK

The world is being transformed by digital technology, generating a huge shift in how we embrace and embed new technology into our lives. Whether we’re working in the field of transport or healthcare, financial services or consumer goods, there’s no doubting the enormous impact that technology is having across the board.

According to the House of Lords Select Committee Report on digital skills, economists have estimated that 35 per cent of current jobs in the UK could become automated over the next two decades. Organisations are incorporating new technology as part of their business strategy and as a result, more and more technical specialists are entering the workforce.

Among the most in-demand skills areas, cyber security systems, mobile computing, cloud computing and big data analytics rate the highest. However, recruiting the necessary talent is becoming increasingly problematic, owing to the growing digital skills deficit we are currently suffering from in the UK.

Last year, the Tech Partnership, the Industrial Partnership for the Digital Economy, surveyed over 1,500 businesses across a range of industries and found that 85 per cent of hard-to-fill positions are difficult to recruit for because of a lack of technical specialist skills.

It also found that once a digital skills gap has been identified, it takes an organisation an average of 6 weeks to address and, to make matters worse, the average time it takes to fill one of the hard-to-fill technical specialist vacancies is 61 days.

The employability of STEM graduates is often cited as one of the key issues here. Many organisations find that job applicants lack commercial awareness, as well as soft skills including communication and interpersonal skills.

However, finding people with high-level technical skills is not the only recruitment problem that employers are facing – there are also skills requirements that spread much further than these specialist roles. With technology becoming so embedded in our daily work, future workforces will need to acquire varying levels of digital skills across the board, as functional areas such as finance, sales and marketing all move towards adopting new technologies to create efficiencies and boost capabilities.

Explore further

House of Lords Select Committee Report Summary
House of Lords Select Committee Full Report
Tech Partnership Skills Survey 2015

Find out how we can help your organisation

Speak to our business team by phone or email.

Contact us

Not on our mailing list?

Sign up to receive regular emails that are full of advice and resources to support staff development in your organisation.

Sign up to our staff development emails