Only 16% of workers in the UK would be comfortable building a website, compared with 39% in Brazil and 37% in India, according to a report, which warns that Britain’s digital skills lag behind other countries’.
A report into digital education, skills and confidence, commissioned by Ashok Vaswani, the chief executive of Barclays UK, found that Britain, one of the most active online consumer markets in the world, is being outpaced when it comes to being able to create new digital technologies.
“In the previous century, most of us had to cope with just one big shift in technology in our career or lifetime, and we’ve been able to rely on our early education to get us through,” Vaswani said.
“But now these changes are happening constantly, through the evolution of the internet, smartphones, social media and the advent of new technologies like blockchain, virtual reality, artificial intelligence and open data. This research shows Britons need to equip themselves with digital skills whether to futureproof their career, or keep personal data and devices safe.”
Password-generating software that creates secure logins is used by 13% of Britons, compared with 32% of people in China and India. While 59% of Indianschange important passwords regularly, 41% of people in the UK do the same.
Britain is also falling behind on digital training in the workplace. Estonia and South Korea lead the way in providing people with vocational skills. Other strong performers are China and the US, where 48% of workers surveyed said their employers offered workplace digital training. That figure was 67% for those surveyed in India, but just 38% in the UK.
“Businesses also need to do much more to upskill each and every generation of their workforce; we need to create a new culture of lifelong learning. With the referendum sending a clear message that too many parts of the UK do not feel they are sharing in the promise of global prosperity, now is the time to take everyone forward together in the digital age,” Vaswani said.
Barclays surveyed 10,000 workers in 10 countries, with the UK performing relatively well on “digital empowerment”, behind only Estonia, South Korea and Sweden. But in terms of how well individuals harness new technologies, Britain ranked sixth.
“The UK can become the world’s pre-eminent powerhouse of tech innovation, and compete globally across all sectors and industries, but only if we significantly develop our digital skills and expertise,” Vaswani said.
“The UK’s current strengths are clear: our children are being taught digital skills at school, the government’s policy is coherent, and the private and voluntary sectors coordinate well. But the UK’s competitors in this race are developing faster, and significant investment in digital skills is the only way for us to win it.”