Tackling the UK’s digital skills gap

A remote worker sits at his desk with his laptop
Virgin Media O2 Business
Natalie Clarkson
by Natalie Clarkson
21 September 2022

The UK is suffering from a digital knowledge gap in its private and public sectors, according to new research from Virgin Media O2 Business.

Months on from the Great Resignation, the loss of talent, a lack of tech training and recruitment struggles have all combined to create a digital skills gap in UK workplaces. 55% of employees reported that their organisation is suffering from a skills shortage, with 83% of them worried about the impact it will have.

Despite this, many organisations are set to turn the clock back on the technological progress of the past three years. The research suggests that around half of organisations are planning to revert to pre-pandemic practices.


However, the research has also uncovered positive solutions that businesses and the public sector can implement to help close the digital skills gap in the workforce: a combination of technological investment, training programmes and progressive working policies.

A florist works at her computer whilst on the phone
Virgin Media O2 Business

When it comes to technology, employees are expecting more – 48% of employees said that poor business equipment and software could be enough to make them resign within the next six months. 43% of employees are regularly frustrated by either the quality or lack of business technology available to them when they’re working, and 35% feel that outdated tech is negatively impacting their performance.

Employees want more training too, with 47% saying they would be happier in their roles if digital training were provided, and 42% saying that they would be less likely to change jobs – showing that investment in learning and development is important for organisations.

The research also confirms that hybrid working policies – where employees have more choice in where, when and how they work – are critical to talent attraction and retention. When asked about their priorities when looking for a new job, 42% of employees said having clear hybrid working policies in place would make an employer more attractive.

Mike Smith, large enterprise and public sector director at Virgin Media O2 Business, commented: “As UK employers grapple with the impact of the ‘Great Resignation’, our research shows that technology could be the tipping point for many. From concerns about digital skills shortages to outdated tech holding them back at work, the nation’s employees are ready to vote with their feet: and a decision to revert to pre-Covid technologies could see one in two leave their post in the next six months.

“But by stepping up investment in technology to help everyone work smarter, backed by the right digital training, both private and public sectors have an opportunity to improve the employee experience – and boost outputs at the same time. Our research shows that employees rate connectivity infrastructure and hybrid working tools as key for improving their productivity and happiness at work, so it’s clear that now is not the time to row back on the digital transformation the UK has made over the past three years.”

Want to know more? Download the full report, Tech and the battle for talent, from Virgin Media O2 Business.