The emphasis on ICT solutions providers to deliver public and private sector organisations with training, advice and up to date digital technology has never been greater based on new research from Virgin Media O2 Business and Censuswide.
The research highlights a loss of talent, a lack of tech training and recruitment struggles are combining to create a digital skills gap in UK workplaces which could worsen as businesses begin to roll back technology introduced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
55% of employees questioned said their organisation is suffering from a skills shortage and 83% of these are worried about the impact this could have, adding to other challenges organisations and employees alike face amidst the cost-of-living crisis.
35% of workers report that skilled colleagues have left and that their replacements lack the right digital expertise, 36% say that their organisation rarely provides digital training, while 32% highlighted not being able to recruit staff with the necessary competencies at all.
The research suggests on average half of organisations that introduced new technologies during Covid-19 lockdowns are planning to revert to pre-pandemic practices. And 50% of employees say that rolling back these tech advances would make them more likely to resign: a clear warning sign that reversing the UK’s digital transformation could exacerbate the skills crisis.
When it comes to technology, 48% of employees said that poor business equipment and software could be enough to make them resign within the next six months. 43% of employees are regularly frustrated by either the quality or lack of business technology available to them when they’re working, while 35% feel that outdated tech is negatively impacting their performance. The majority of employees (81%) also say that technology is important in helping them stay engaged and happy at work.
Mike Smith, Large Enterprise & Public Sector Director at Virgin Media O2 Business, commented: “Our research shows that technology could be the tipping point for many. From concerns about digital skills shortages to outdated tech holding them back at work, the nation’s employees are ready to vote with their feet: and a decision to revert to pre-Covid technologies could see one in two leave their post in the next six months.”
Frequent training programmes are high up the list of for employees too. 47% would be happier in their roles if digital training were provided, while 42% would be less likely to change jobs, meaning that investment in learning and development is now an imperative for organisations.
The research also confirmed that hybrid working policies - greater choice in where, when, and how people work - remain critical to talent attraction and retention. When asked about their priorities when searching for a new role, 42% said having clear hybrid working policies in place would make an employer more attractive, while 44% of professionals identified career development opportunities. These findings reinforce the need to invest in the digital technologies that make hybrid working practices possible and empower employees to fulfil their career potential.
Of these technologies, employees said that digital collaboration tools such as Teams and Zoom, document management tools like eSignature software and connectivity applications, solutions and infrastructure are best placed to increase their productivity.
“By stepping up investment in technology to help everyone work smarter, backed by the right digital training, both private and public sectors have an opportunity to improve the employee experience and boost outputs at the same time,” said Smith. “Our research shows that employees rate connectivity infrastructure and hybrid working tools as key for improving their productivity and happiness at work.
“It’s clear that now is not the time to row back on the digital transformation the UK has made over the past three years,” he added.