Technology skills gap widens in UK workplaces

New research by The Workforce Institute at Kronos has revealed the UK workforce feels they are undertrained, and the implementation of technology across every sector has brought this issue to light. Gartner has claimed AI Will Create 2.3 Million Jobs in 2020, while Eliminating 1.8 Million. While this is positive from an employment perspective – and can make employees more efficient while providing new opportunities –a to tackle this effectively training will need to be at the forefront of human capital strategies. The technology skills gap is something that has been prevalent for some time, however it has appeared to have remained unaddressed according to these latest insights.

Large portions of the UK workforce must be upskilled to avoid the risk of obsoletion

As technological capabilities develop, large portions of the workforce must be upskilled to avoid the risk of obsoletion. Despite this, almost a third (30 percent) of workers haven’t been trained to carry out a new job or role they had been tasked with in the past year. Of the training that has been carried out, few organisations have formalized their training programs, with  with the majority (61 percent) training their employees on the fly while “on the job.” There is a danger here that staff are being thrown into roles above their skill level, being forced to learn as they go.

Brexit will impact skills in the UK

The issue could be further complicated by the impact of Brexit, as over one in five (22 percent) of the workforce feel the amount of skilled workers in their organisation will decrease as a result of the UK leaving the European market. This is exacerbated by the majority consensus (62 percent) believing that technological innovation will also become stagnant and decrease as a result of cutting ties with the EU. It is no surprise, therefore, that the feeling amongst over half of employees (55 percent) is that organisations do not have adequate measures in place to deal with the outcomes of Brexit.

Uncertainty is having a direct impact on employee happiness

This uncertainty is having a direct impact on employee happiness, as employees are beginning to fear wage stagnation (28 percent) and even unemployment (22 percent).

Clare Richardson, Chair of The Workforce Institute Europe commented on the findings:

“The continued move to automation across all workforces is set to have a profound impact on all aspects of British industry. Therefore, business management have a huge responsibility to ensure that each member of their current workforce understands how technology can augment their role so they can utilise their maximum potential.

Not only is implementing a core training and change management strategy vital for this to happen, but ensuring that this training is carried out in controlled environments rather than in tandem with a busy work day. There is a lot of fear currently around the impact new technology will have on the workforce, however the potential for streamlining needless admin activity to focus on more rewarding and productive aspects of job roles is immense.

We are beginning to see glimpses of automation leading to positive sentiment in the workforce. The logistics sector has been a proving ground for much of what automation has to offer, and despite heavy fearmongering over 95 percent of logistics workers don’t feel that their job is at risk due to technology.”

Key stats on the technology skills shortage

  • Technology skills are the most in-demand in the workforce, yet over a third of the workforce (39 percent) feel underskilled in this area
  • This skills gap is costing businesses time and money with 70 percent of employees claiming they would be more productive if their technology and skills in this area could be improved
  • The problem could get worse, as over one in five workers feel the amount of skilled workers in their organisation will decrease as a result of Brexit
  • This significant skills gap must be addressed, as almost a quarter of the workforce (24 percent) feel that the majority of their colleagues lack the sufficient skills to complete the tasks they perform