Leading figures in Britain’s tech industry have said the UK urgently needs to upskill its workforce, to prepare UK workers for a digital first world.
The comments come after new research from Salesforce showed that UK workers believe they lack the skills needed to operate in a “digital first” world, and that they lack the resources to develop them.
Jacqueline de Rojas, president of tech industry trade association TechUK, said “There is an urgent need for action to fix the digital skills crisis.”
In a survey of 23,500 people in 19 different countries, 80 per cent of the UK workers said they do not feel that they are equipped for the future of work, compared to 76 per cent of workers globally.
In response to the figures, Zahra Bahrololoumi, CEO of Salesforce UK and Ireland called for the reskilling of the workforce to be made a “national priority” as she argued that “we all have a responsibility to help people navigate learning and equip them to seize the opportunities of a digital-first future.”
Meanwhile, workers in developing countries such as India showed significantly more confidence in their readiness for a digital world.
More than three quarters (76 per cent) of respondents from India said they do feel equipped for a digital led workplace, while 69 per cent said they are actively learning new digital skills.
By contrast, only 29 per cent of UK workers are currently actively learning new digital skills. This is despite the fact that more than half (51 per cent) of respondents said they want to learn new skills.
At the same time, 43 per cent of UK workers said they felt overwhelmed by pace of technological advancement, while 23 per cent said they were fearful about the future.
Peter Schwartz, SVP for Strategic Planning and Chief Futures Officer at Salesforce, said: “There’s a gap between the frontier of innovation and the skills necessary to use those innovations. That in itself, is not new. But what is new, is the scope of that innovation, how widespread it is, how it has diffused in every aspect of life. It is hard to do almost anything these days without some form of digital interaction.”