New research indicates that a substantial two-thirds of UK businesses are contending with a digital skills deficiency within their workforce. Despite this gap, the 2023 State of Digital Adoption report by tech firm, Userlane, highlighted that a robust 89% of employees are eager to develop new digital competencies.

The study identified the most in-demand digital skills as data analysis and interpretation (19%), AI utilisation (17%), and familiarity with online learning platforms (17%). The primary reasons employees are keen to enhance their digital expertise are to:

  • Boost productivity and efficiency (34%)
  • Stay abreast of tech innovations (33%)
  • Bolster job security (29%)
  • Heighten overall digital literacy (28%)
  • Foster career and professional advancement (28%)

Interestingly, although 53% of employees noted an increase in software usage over the past 12 months, a staggering 90% face challenges when integrating new applications into their daily tasks. On average, UK workers lose 2.33 hours weekly due to these obstacles. Over half (53%) forfeit more than an hour each week, while 25% reported feelings of stress or overwhelm. This is of concern to organisations, as 68% of employees consider stress-free software usage vital to their job satisfaction. Additionally, 90% associate it directly with productivity.

Feedback from the study also revealed that only 62% of respondents felt their companies offered adequate training. Likewise, 65% believed their IT support was sufficient. Remote work has forced 51% of employees to tackle software issues independently. Moreover, only 62% believed that their organisations clearly communicated their digital transformation strategies.

A surprising insight from the study was the regularity with which employees assist others with tech issues. Nearly half (46%) of Gen Z workers have been approached for assistance by senior management or executives. Overall, the majority of help requests come from:

  • Team or department colleagues (76%)
  • Friends and family (71%)
  • Colleagues from different departments or teams (63%)

Furthermore, there’s been a noted decline in software training budgets, with UK businesses now investing £1,107.63 per employee annually, a decrease from the previous year’s £2,086.55.

Current software training methodologies include:

  • Peer-to-peer knowledge sharing (62%)
  • Online self-paced tutorials (59%)
  • Practical workshops or exercises (59%)

In contrast, future training modalities are predicted to shift towards:

  • Interactive virtual training sessions (42%)
  • Simulated or virtual environments (42%)
  • Gamified learning experiences (40%)

Hartmut Hahn, CEO of Userlane, reflected on the findings, stating, “Employees aspire to remain current and assume more accountability for their digital skills evolution. This is promising for business leaders, but it necessitates offering appropriate support. Our findings indicate a preference for experiential learning. This may shed light on the diminishing traditional software training budgets. Many corporate leaders believe that old-fashioned classroom sessions and videos are becoming obsolete. What’s required is a scalable, human-centric approach to digital onboarding that allows employees to learn at their own rhythm.”

Hahn further recommended the use of a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP) as an effective solution. DAPs are versatile, aligning with any software in use and can be integrated with analytics tools to monitor digital adoption across numerous applications.

The full 2023 State of Digital Adoption report by Userlane is available here for deeper insights.