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Research shows just a fifth of British workers feel they have adequate tech and digital skills amid skills gap fears

By Angela Haggerty | Reporter

June 7, 2013 | 3 min read

Research carried out by OnePoll has revealed that just a fifth of British workers feel they are adequately skilled to embrace digital innovations and technology in the workplace, furthering concerns over an emerging skills gap in the fast-growing tech sector.

Concerns: Almost half of respondents want to learn new skills

The results of a survey of 2,000 British workers showed 18 per cent of 55 year olds felt left behind in terms of new technology compared to 10 per cent of 18-24 year olds, while almost half of those questioned (48 per cent) said they wanted to add new digital skills and knowledge to their CVs.

One in five (21 per cent) of 18-24 year olds said they would try to start a new tech or digital venture of their own if they could develop the relevant skills, but the same number of all respondents said they didn't know how to go about learning and 14 per cent said cost was an issue.

The survey was carried out in the run up to a Digital Domination Summit at the end of the month designed to motivate a new generation of internet entrepreneurs. Conference organiser Marco Montemagno said: "In the UK, 73 per cent of households have broadband, the UK internet economy is worth £100bn annually, is growing at 10 per cent a year and directly employs 250,000 people.

"Yet, clearly many people in both small and large businesses are struggling to take advantage of the digital world. People often feel out of touch and don't know where to start - we want to help address that by giving people bite-sized insights that will help them understand better the opportunities open to them."

Earlier this year, Google announced it would fund the extension of a UK graduate scheme to help bridge the digital skills gap, while a report released last month accused the government of creating too much hype about the London Tech City industry, where it claimed growth was become stunted and jobs harder to fill because of an emerging skills gap.

In Scotland the government has been urged to take action after figures showed up to 45,000 new professionals in the digital and tech industries could be required to sustain it over the next five years, with businesses already reporting increasing difficulties finding adequately skilled staff.

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