We think and write a lot about digital transformation. Helping businesses transform their operations, driving efficiency improvements and cutting costs is at the very core of our business. But something we’ve been thinking about quite a lot lately is how the reported digital skills gap in the UK could be holding some businesses back.

We have over a decade of experience carrying out digital projects in a range of businesses, and we’ve seen the challenges that a lack of digital skills in an organisation can present. Considering how big the digital market is now, the numbers are quite surprising.


The stats

There are countless reports, statistics and thought pieces on the digital skills gap in the UK, and the impact it is having on businesses and the wider economy. Here we’ve rounded up a few key numbers and stats.

  • 52% of UK businesses have reported a shortage in digital competencies. (pwc, 2014)
  • It is estimated that the lack of digital skills is costing the UK economy around £63 billion a year (New Statesman, 2017)
  • At any one time, the UK is facing a shortfall of 40,000 people with the necessary STEM skills to the meet the demand of the digital economy. 75% of UK businesses reported a digital skills shortage in their employee base (British Chamber of Commerce, 2017)
  • 43% of STEM vacancies are hard to fill due to the lack of qualified candidates. (UKCES, 2017)
  • Out of 150 UK businesses, 42% had cancelled digital transformation projects in that last year, costing on average £439,690 per project. (Fujitsu, 2017)
  • Out of 1,625 businesses worldwide, 70% said their organisation was currently lacking in digital skills. 83% said they expect artificial intelligence to change the skills required within the next 3 years. (Fujitsu, 2017)


What does this mean for businesses?


Not only is a suffering economy bad for the UK’s businesses, there is a significant impact closer to home, as businesses struggle to find the talent they need to push forward, remain innovative and competitive.


It’s clear that the considerable lack of digital skills and resource available to businesses within their internal team could be proving a significant barrier to successful digital transformation. It also seems that for many businesses, recruitment or training up of existing staff is an integral part of their digital transformation strategy.


In a blue sky world, businesses would be able to fill the positions they needed and proceed with their projects unencumbered. Unfortunately, recruitment and training costs money and takes time. When it comes to being innovative and staying competitive in any industry, those are precious commodities. Estimated costs of recruitment and hiring consulting agencies are around £1.7 billion. Recruiting for digital skills is not easy, as many organisations have limited understanding of the skills required to carry out a transformation project.


What can be done?

At Avenir Digital, we can help you take a more agile and strategic approach to recruiting IT and digital resource. We’ll always start by thoroughly assessing the nature and the requirements of the project, and help you build a recruitment strategy around that. With over a decade of experience carrying out digital transformation projects in a range of businesses, we have extensive knowledge of the skills required to ensure success. We can help you recruit from our database of over 125,000 IT professionals and consultants, not always available through the traditional routes, to make sure you get the person or team which is the right fit for your business. Get the right the people with the right skills at a fraction of the cost, and bridge the digital skills gap in your business.


If you’d like to find out more, get in touch.