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Thursday, 24 September 2015 15:16

Digital skills aren’t high enough on the business agenda

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Employees are frustrated by businesses lack of commitment to IT infrastructure and a failure to train and develop skills in-house

New research from VMware shows employers are failing to act on the need for a more flexible and agile IT infrastructure and debunks the myth that only the young are interested in coding or want to drive digital transformation in a business.

The research, launched at the opening of their new UK headquarters in Staines, comes at a time when digital skills are becoming more critical to delivering business growth and competitive advantage and businesses are struggling to find staff skilled in IT.

Nearly half (42%) of the UK employees polled in the 18-24 range believe that senior management does not understand the business' technology infrastructure enough to support their digital skills within the workplace. This was the highest percentage across any age group (30% of respondents aged over 55 believed this), implying that there is a possible disconnect between those entering the workforce and senior management.

Additionally, only half (50%) of today’s UK workforce believe they are able to fully use their digital skills within their organisations. Barriers to realising employees’ full digital skills are due to a complex range of reasons, including: ‘digital’ not being integrated into personal objectives (60%), lack of budget (44%), lack of adequate support from IT (41%) and company policies being too restrictive (40%).  Employees also wanted more investment in formal training to further develop digital skills (56%), better recognition for using digital skills (44%) and the development of a culture that better embraces digital skills (47%) as priority areas to focus on.

The study also found that, far from being confined to the ‘millennial’ or ‘Generation Z’ demographics, digital skills are a priority for all employees – impacting both their own career development and the broader business.

Recognised benefits of the widespread use of digital skills by UK employees include improving the competitive edge of an organisation (75%) and increasing revenue/profitability for the business over the next five years (69%). 73% of employees, meanwhile, believe it enables greater collaboration between colleagues.

Furthermore, older generations of the workforce are actively pursuing more technical digital skills, with 35% of 45-54 year olds and 23% of 55 years and over respectively, seeking advice or training on designing and building mobile applications. 47% of 45 - 54 year olds are doing the same for coding and creating online content.

“Successful digital transformation in today's business world is shaped by culture, people and capabilities,” comments Joe Baguley, VP & CTO, VMware EMEA. “UK enterprises are rightly investing heavily in ‘digital’ talent as they look to harness the key skills and capabilities that can help organisations innovate faster and fully engage customers – both of which impact an organisation’s bottom line. We’re committed to working with all organisations across the country to help them better understand the ‘art of the possible’ with regards to truly transforming their use of technologies and skills for the digital age. Only then will businesses be able to fully utilise their talent, of all ages, and realise their potential.”

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