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Bridging The Digital Divide Research Methodology

Prepared by Third City on behalf of The Open University

The Open University's Bridging the Digital Divide report investigates the impact of the digital revolution on organisations and employees, and highlights how digital skill shortages are holding employers back from achieving their full potential.

The report considers ways in which organisations can address their digital skills gaps, and highlights how education and training can provide a more sustainable pipeline of talent. It also suggests that higher-level work-based education, such as that delivered by degrees and apprenticeships, makes employees better able to apply their skills to the workplace, and helps to engage them with the idea of continuous development.

About the data

Market research

The Open University commissioned PCP Market Research to undertake market research among 500 chief technology officers, managing directors, HR directors and HR managers across Great Britain between 9 and 21 May 2019. The data includes statistically significant samples for English region, Wales and Scotland, and included a 50:50 split between large enterprises and SMEs (microbusinesses were excluded from the survey). The results were weighted to be nationally representative.

It was not possible to secure a suitable sample of organisations from Northern Ireland, and therefore all data included in the report represents organisations across Great Britain, rather than the United Kingdom. However, the report does refer to the wider UK in relation to contextual information.

Footnote methodologies

The report includes calculations using the amalgamated Freedom of Information Request data and statistics found through desk research. These are footnoted in the main report, with the full methodology for each included below.

Footnotes not included below are referenced sufficiently in the report.

3. 244,000 organisations across Great Britain are currently lacking digital skills

The market research revealed that 88 per cent of organisations across Great Britain are currently lacking digital skills. According to the Office for National Statistics' Business Workbook 2018, there are currently 276,685 organisations with 10+ employees in Great Britain, which means that 243,641 of these would be experiencing a digital skills shortage (276,685 x 0.88 = 243,641).

4. 12 million employees across Great Britain could be affected by changing roles

According to the Office for National Statistics' Labour Market Overview (May 2019), there are currently 32,697,000 people currently employed. On average, organisations estimate that 37 per cent of the jobs in their workforce will be affected by new digital technologies in the next five years. Therefore, 12,097,890 employees are likely to find that their job significantly alters or becomes redundant in the next five years (32,697,000 x 0.37 = 12,097,890).

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