UK suffers from digital talent gap costing £63 billion a year

The UK’s digital talent gap is causing the country to lose out on £63 billion a year as companies are finding it increasingly difficult to find the right candidates with the digital skills to fill its vacancies.

This is according to a report conducted by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) and the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) named the Delivering Skills for the New Economy which highlights this costly problem within the UK.

There is a worry that this can discourage investment in to the country as well as limit people’s ability to  access the jobs and services that technology offers.

The report revealed that over two thirds (67 per cent) of companies across the UK have unfilled digital vacancies. Just under a third (31 per cent) of businesses are worried they will not be able to access the skills they need in the next three to five years.

Over half (60 per cent) of large firms said its digital skills need will rapidly increase over the next three to five years. Whereas 69 per cent of smaller businesses needs are likely to peak in the next year or two.

Still, 56 per cent of businesses are confident they are spending enough on addressing its digital skill needs.

One in five (20 per cent) of businesses still find it hard to employ people with basic digital skills, such as writing documents using a word processor or using spreadsheets effectively.

Also advanced digital skills are proving to be difficult positions to fill, as 55 per cent of large companies are experiencing challenges in recruiting software engineers and 61 per cent are struggling to hire data analysts.

CBI recommendations include:
  • Government (DCMS/DfE) must set an ambitious target for the entire UK workforce to have basic digital skills by 2025 and work with businesses to engage with relevant academic and technical education institutions.
  • Businesses must better understand their digital skills needs and coordinate with local policymakers, businesses and learning providers to create local skills provision that address their skills demands.
  • Ensure digital skills are at the heart of the National Retraining Scheme, including targeted support for software engineering and data analysis skills.


A large proportion of firms (75 per cent) are investing more capital in to training on digital technologies, with 31 per cent taking on apprentices and 30 per cent organising short courses on the subject.

Interested in the future of work? We recommend the Future of Work Summit 2019.





Darius is the editor of HRreview. He has previously worked as a finance reporter for the Daily Express. He studied his journalism masters at Press Association Training and graduated from the University of York with a degree in History.