Digital skills shortage: only 1 in 10 candidates have the skills for digital vacancies

No longer “optional” for employers: 82% of online vacancies have digital skills as an essential entry requirement.

Digital Skills Shortage

72% of businesses in the UK have digital skill-based vacancies, and more than two-thirds (68%) find it challenging to hire the digital workers they need. Of those who are finding it difficult to hire, 45% say is due to a shortage of qualified applicants.

The Global Digital Skills Survey conducted by Amazon Web Services and Gallup consisted of more than 30,000 workers across 19 countries and revealed that investing in advanced digital skills could raise the annual GDP in the UK by £67.8 billion.

Digital skills are no longer optional

But it’s not only the economy that benefits from advanced digital skills; the study also found that digitally skilled workers are more likely to be better paid, happier in their jobs, more efficient, and believe they have a better chance of promotion.

58% of British workers with advanced digital skills express high levels of job satisfaction, compared to 43% of peers with basic or intermediate digital proficiency.

Digital skills are no longer “optional” for employers, in 2019 a UK Government report in emphasised the growing importance of digital skills, with at least 82% of online vacancies having various digital skills as an essential entry requirement. Since the Covid19 pandemic, the importance for these skills in the workplace has only grown further.

The rise of AI

The rapid growth of AI has only fuelled this further, with research suggesting nearly 1 in 3 people are concerned with the integration of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the workplace.

Meanwhile, 39% of employees evidenced concerns regarding sufficient digital and technological training from their employer – only further emphasising the demand for digital skills and training.


The rate of digitalisation has grown faster than originally ever anticipated, particularly during the Covid19 pandemic. As most businesses were forced online, many realised the benefits of digital and have continued to adopt it post-pandemic – except now the demand for emerging technologies increasing ahead of the number of workers with skills required to deliver them.

As technology develops, so does the workforce’s skillset requirements. If workers don’t develop their digital literacy skills consistently, then they run the risk of being left behind in the ever-changing technological landscape that we live in.

Although digital literacy is a broad concept, everyone needs it in some form or another. The exact digital requirements people need will vary between jobs. From from being able to work a printer; to using word processors, spreadsheets, social media platforms, and CRM systems; to advanced digital use like AI, data analysis, computer programming and coding.

To be able to deal with this challenge, it’s important that employers provide their workforce with the chance to learn and develop the required skills to remain up-to-date with the rate of technological development. The CIPD 2021 Learning and Skills Work Survey shows businesses with a sophisticated approach to technology in L&D are more likely to have a supportive learning environment.

Find out more

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If you’re looking for digital vacancies, check out our Technical and Engineering Vacancies to find the right role for you!