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O2 report warns UK economy could lose billions if digital workforce problems are not addressed

Report: The study highlighted the need to increase digital workers

A report has revealed Britain will require 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017 to support the growing digital economy, adding to concerns of a skills gap in the sector in the UK.

According to the study carried out by Development Economics and commissioned by O2, the failure to increase the workforce could cost the UK up to £2bn per year.

However, the research added that existing government initiatives were expected to generate around £7bn each year until 2017, but noted that this could be improved if government and businesses devoted more resources to digital education in schools.

The report comes a month ahead of the Bima D-Day event, which promotes digital careers to young people in the UK by connecting digital professionals from across the UK’s creative sector with schools and colleges. According to the study, around 200,000 of jobs needing filled in the UK digital industry would be best suited to younger people.

Ronan Dunne, chief executive of O2, was quoted in the Telegraph saying: “Now more than ever before, digital offers the chance to drive sustained economic recovery, but this will only be realised if we become a nation of digitally confident businesses with a digitally literate workforce.

“Businesses must proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate to maximise the digital growth opportunity and harness the potential of the next generation. As digital natives, young people possess valuable skills that will be the future fuel of our economy, but not enough is being done to harness them.”

The Drum promotes the digital and creative industries through a number of initiatives, including its support of Bima D-Day activities and through its editorial coverage of issues in recruitment, such as the Girl Guides series - you can read the latest interview with Martha Lane Fox here - which encourages more women to excel in industry.

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