A staggering 58 percent of employees believe they have been denied promotions due to a deficiency in digital skills, shedding light on a growing concern within the workforce, according to recent research conducted by the FDM Group, a strategic talent solutions partner.

The study, which polled 250 decision-makers from various UK financial institutions and banks through independent polling agency Censuswide, sought to uncover the impact of the prevailing skills crisis on the Financial Services sector.

The findings have illuminated a pressing issue that demands attention from both employers and policymakers.

In addition to the promotion hurdles faced by individuals, the research also highlighted the perceived insufficiency in training opportunities.

A matching 58 percent of workers expressed the belief that their organisations lack the necessary time to train employees effectively.

Notably, younger staff members, constituting 70 percent of those between the ages of 18 and 24, feel particularly neglected in this regard.

Upskilling opportunities and challenges

A promising aspect of the research was the revelation that 91 percent of workers reported that their organisations do offer upskilling or reskilling opportunities as part of in-house development initiatives.

However, the optimism is dampened by the fact that 63 percent of respondents consider the associated costs of these programs to be prohibitively high. This concern is even more pronounced among the younger demographic, where a striking 94 percent of those aged 18 to 24 voiced their worries about the financial aspect of upskilling.

Digital skills: outsourcing as a solution

To tackle this complex challenge, a significant 84 percent of respondents suggested that their organisations could benefit from outsourcing digital training for staff. This strategy is seen as a way to balance the need for comprehensive training with the necessity of managing costs.

Moreover, the research brought to light an alarming statistic: three-quarters of workers feel that their colleagues have resisted the adoption of new technologies due to a lack of understanding or digital skills. This sentiment is echoed strongly among the youngest segment of the workforce, with 86 percent of those aged 18 to 24 agreeing with this assessment.

Tech skills are crucial across many industries

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer for FDM Group, emphasised the critical role that technology skills play across industries, particularly in the financial services sector where technologies like AI and analytics are becoming increasingly integral. Flavell stated, “Bridging the widening digital skills gap is an important area for businesses to prioritise.” She underscored that providing access to digital skills training programs can empower staff, facilitating their development and positioning them for skilled roles within the finance, banking, and FinTech domains.

Flavell proposed a multi-faceted approach to address this challenge, advocating for both in-house upskilling initiatives and the outsourcing of digital training. She acknowledged the complexity of the issue and stressed the need for constant progress to overcome the skills gap and propel the financial services industry forward.

The research by the FDM Group has brought to light a pressing concern regarding the digital skills gap that exists within the workforce. As technology continues to shape and revolutionise industries, addressing this gap has become a paramount concern for businesses and institutions seeking to remain competitive and relevant in an increasingly digital world.





Amelia Brand is the Editor for HRreview, and host of the HR in Review podcast series. With a Master’s degree in Legal and Political Theory, her particular interests within HR include employment law, DE&I, and wellbeing within the workplace. Prior to working with HRreview, Amelia was Sub-Editor of a magazine, and Editor of the Environmental Justice Project at the University College London, writing and overseeing articles into UCL’s weekly newsletter. Her previous academic work has focused on philosophy, politics and law, with a special focus on how artificial intelligence will feature in the future.