The UK's digital skills shortage - could digital be the career for you?

Meg Timbrell
Content & Social Media Manager
2 min read

Recent findings by The Learning & Work Institute (LWI) reveal that there has been a 40% decrease in the number of young people taking IT subjects at GCSE since 2015.

This is despite a spike in demand from employers for AI, cloud, and robotics skills.

According to Dr Neil Bentley-Gockmann (Chief Executive of WorldSkills UK), there are four reasons that are causing this digital skills shortage:

  • a lack of clearly-defined job roles in certain fields
  • a lack of understanding and guidance about potential career paths
  • a lack of relatable role models
  • a difficulty in making many technical professions seem appealing to young people, especially young women

The LWI also found that less than 50% of UK employers feel that those entering the workforce are arriving with the required advanced digital skillset.

To combat the digital skills gap, the report recommended:

  • Encouraging and inspiring more young women to develop digital skills, and therefore tackling inequality by dismantling gender stereotypes within the digital workforce.
  • Expanding the level of demand and supply of digital skills across the whole of the UK, rather than just London, which currently has the largest supply of digital skills.
  • Reducing digital poverty by enabling access to fast and affordable broadband connections and relevant devices for all young people.
  • Encouraging employers to increase their investment in digital skills development.

What are advanced digital skills?

Advanced digital skills are highly important skills to have for a variety of professions, and are especially important following the pandemic where virtual interaction is more prevalent than ever and remote working is expected to remain in a number of workplaces.

Some examples include:

  • Digital marketing
  • Social media
  • User Experience (UX)
  • Web Analytics
  • AI

How can online courses help improve my digital skills?

Gaining digital skills is a huge asset to any CV and can greatly improve career prospects. Due to the immense progression in digital technologies over the past few decades, job roles such as PPC (Pay-Per-Click) managers, app designers, or big data analysts just didn't exist 15 years ago. These professions are continually evolving, and therefore having up-to-date digital skills is vital to thriving in the digital age.

If you're interested in a career in digital and want to find out more about the options available or how to develop the relevant skills, we've partnered with City & Guilds who have created a brand new 'Step Into Digital Technologies' course to help you. The course is currently free to everyone and available via the FutureLearn platfom.

  • Duration: 2 weeks
  • Weekly study: 2 hours
  • 100% online: Learn at your own pace
  • Digital upgrade: Free

City & Guilds, as a charity, support over 4 million people each year to develop skills that help them into a job, develop on that job and to prepare for their next job.

During the course, you'll explore the opportunities available in digital and IT, and how you can utilise and build upon your existing skills to start your career. At the end of the course, you'll gain a digital credential from City & Guilds, enabling you to search for live job opportunities and receive advice on how to go about searching for a job, key things to highlight on your CV, and insights on what it takes to start your own business.

Find out more and join the course here: Step Into Digital Technologies

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