CEO, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT
According to a report from the recruitment agency Hays, almost 95% of employers looking for tech talent struggled to find staff last year. That’s up from 89% the previous year
We are all increasingly reliant on the digital world, whether for work, play or accessing services such as healthcare or bank accounts.
Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the digital transformation of our world has sped up — and led to massive growth in demand for experts in specialist IT roles such as software development, data analysis, artificial intelligence and cybersecurity. However, the digital skills gap is considerable and must be bridged if society and the collective UK economy are to thrive.
Barriers to tech talent access
A digital divide further complicates the shortage of tech talent in the UK. According to the Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index 2022, 99% of UK citizens are now online, but 14 million people (27% of the population) still have the ‘lowest digital capability.’ The report says they will likely ‘struggle to interact with online services and are at risk of being left behind and left out from society.’
Most people will experience the impact of digitisation over the next few years, and we need to address the systemic social inequalities in the UK today. We also need to prioritise digital solutions that increase the competitiveness of UK businesses to boost productivity and performance, with greater use of data to predict business outcomes. To do that, we need more competent, ethical, accountable and inclusive IT professionals.
Most people will experience the impact
of digitisation over the next few years.
Opportunities to gain and access digital skills
The government has increased digital skills training through schemes such as coding boot camps and reforms to lifelong learning. Computer science is the fastest growing subject at A Level and has seen a surge in undergraduate applications. Businesses are also upskilling their workers — as an end-pointassessor for digital apprenticeships, we have seen a rise in candidates coming through us at the Chartered Institute for IT. .
However, more needs to be done so that everyone has the digital skills they — and the economy — need. The BCS mission to make IT good for society is more relevant now than ever.