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Firms can't fill digital roles, UK survey suggests

File photo dated 06/08/13 of a person using a laptop. Two-thirds of companies have unfilled vacancies for jobs with digital skills, a study suggests. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday June 4, 2019. Research by the CBI among 250 businesses indicated that only one in three were confident of hiring workers with digital skills they need in the next three to five years. See PA story INDUSTRY Digital. Photo credit should read: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire

By Alan Jones, Press Association Industrial Correspondent

Two-thirds of companies have unfilled vacancies for jobs with digital skills, a study suggests.

Research by the CBI among 250 businesses indicated that only one in three were confident of hiring workers with digital skills they need in the next three to five years.

Matthew Fell, the CBI's chief UK policy director, said: "Technology is changing the way we live and work, creating millions of jobs and adding £184 billion to the UK economy.

"Yet this new data reveals the majority of firms are struggling to fill digital roles across all sectors and skills levels, with demand set to skyrocket in the next few years.

"Digital skills are absolutely fundamental to getting people ready for the future of work and helping companies make the most of the opportunities technology brings.

"It's essential we tackle the UK's digital skills crunch now to remain internationally competitive, and promote the UK as the number one place for businesses to invest."

One in five firms were unable to find employees with basic digital skills such as writing documents using a word processor or using spreadsheets effectively, and more than half reported challenges in recruiting software engineers or data analysts, said the report.

The CBI urged the Government to set a target for the entire UK workforce to have basic digital skills by 2025.

Shankar Narayanan, of Tata Consultancy Services, which helped with the study, said: "This new research makes it clear that for the UK economy to remain competitive into the future, it's important to ensure the UK's workforce continually see the value in building the necessary skills for a career in technology."

A Government spokesman said: "We are working with the public, private and charity sector to tackle the digital skills challenge in a co-ordinated and collaborative way and through our Digital Skills Partnership have provided more than two million targeted training opportunities.

"We are investing £84 million in a world-leading new centre for computing education for schools, led by some of the UK's leading tech experts, to give teachers the subject knowledge and support they need to teach the next generation of talent, and our new T-levels, designed in collaboration with employers, will prepare young people with the practical skills they need to succeed."

Pic by Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire