One third of UK businesses are being held back by a lack of basic tech skills, delaying digital transformation and the implementation of emerging technologies, according to research from UST.

While the UK’s digital spending is expected to increase 5.2 percent year-over-year in 2023, 45 percent of respondents said that the government should give more incentives to entice businesses to invest in Research and Development and 44 percent said more support should be given to STEM programmes at education level.

Research shows an increased focus on attracting more diverse STEM candidates as almost half (49%) of leaders say they are advertising in new places and 42 percent said they are offering apprenticeship programmes in hope to bridge the gap.

As 33 percent of leaders claim that current legacy IT systems are a key factor in delaying digital transformations, digital expertise must be developed to allow the implementation and use of newer, improved systems.

Sheila Flavell CBE, Chief Operating Officer for FDM Groupcommented:

“Talent shortage is currently being cited as one of the leading barriers to the adoption of new and emerging technologies, holding back both business and economic growth. It is positive to see that organisations are taking the initiative and attempting to train talent from diverse pools of individuals, such as women, returners and ex-forces, as these groups, as well as other marginalised groups, who hold untapped and relevant skills that all too often get overlooked.”

“Technology and innovation act as huge growth drivers and for the UK to achieve its goal of technological and economic growth, investment in skills must be made, which also means guiding young people who will be looking to start their careers. Without the right level of expertise, new technologies will be left redundant and undeveloped which, for businesses, will mean losing out on increased productivity.” 

“The government must continue supporting businesses who are attempting to bridge the skills gap, allowing them to offer opportunities in educating and training to individuals who can either be taught or retrained in skills that organisations are crying out for.”





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.