Lack of digital skills could jeopardise Edinburgh business growth

Dave Livesey, AND Digital Club Executive

AND Digital releases new report 

  • 59% of workers in Edinburgh believe a lack of digital skills is having a negative impact on their organisation
  • 63% of respondents in Edinburgh have never received digital upskilling.
  • A widespread misunderstanding exists of what digital skills means, over a third (35%) of respondents across the UK believe digital skills means the ability to fix IT issues.

DIGITAL services company AND Digital has released The Nature of the Digital Skills Gap report, revealing 59% of workers in Edinburgh believe a lack of digital skills is having a negative impact on their organisation.

The report which also looks at the UK-wide impact estimates that over half (61%) of business growth depends on digital outcomes. Based on AND Digital’s estimations, this equates to £50bn is at risk per year across the UK economy, and more than £240bn between now and 2026.*

As part of its research, AND Digital analysed job vacancies and skill data for the UK shared by organisations in 2022 so far. The organisation found that In the first seven months of 2022, there were more than 2 million digital skill related vacancies posted out of a total of 8.5 million vacancies – highlighting that demand for digital skills is present in 23.5% of all vacancies.

The findings are alarming for the business community in Edinburgh, as 18% of those surveyed report that their company has not offered any digital upskilling at all. 63% of respondents in the city also reported that they have never received digital upskilling, which is considerably higher than AND Digital’s UK-wide finding of 58%. 

The research commissioned by AND Digital, which surveyed 5,000 UK workers who use technology in their roles, analysed the digital skills capabilities at an individual, team and organisational level. Overall, the research highlights that urgent action to digitally upskill the UK’s workforce could help its chance of economic recovery. 

Workers are not receiving adequate upskilling to meet required growth 

AND Digital found that more than a quarter (26%) of workers in Edinburgh surveyed feel they lack sufficient digital skills for their current role, but a fifth (18%) say their employer does not offer digital skills upskilling. Of those Edinburgh employers that do prioritise upskilling, just under half (48%) of employees believe their organisation only sees it as a worthwhile investment for obvious tech-focused roles.

A widespread misunderstanding exists of what digital skills means 

A widespread misunderstanding of what digital skills actually means presents a further  barrier to closing the gap. Over a third (35%) of respondents believe it means the ability to fix IT issues. Amongst UK-wide respondents, almost half (47%) believe digital skills means either the ability to code and programme, build a website or create mobile/computer applications. Skills such as constantly evolving the way they work to keep up with innovation (34%) and being experimental in their role using digital tools (24%) came further down the list.

Dave Livesey, AND Digital Club Executive, said: “The discussion about the digital skills gap has been front and centre for more than a decade, but organisations in Edinburgh still need support to sufficiently upskill employees. Without taking action on this there could be a detrimental impact not only on businesses, but on wider economic growth. This is because we have not come to a shared understanding of what the skills gap is or what digital skills means – this needs to be done to move forward and close the gap.  

“AND Digital estimates that over the next three years the UK workforce will require eight million individuals proficient in digital skills to close the current gap. Organisations in Edinburgh must prioritise digital upskilling –  ensuring individuals, teams and organisations as a whole in the region are fit for a digital present and future.” 

More data can be found in the The Nature of the Digital Skills Gap report at this link.


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