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The big recruitment problem in the UK tech industry

The UK is in the midst of a digital skills crisis, with a recent report suggesting that 12.6m adults lack basic digital skills, while 5.8m have never used the internet at all, which presents a severe recruitment problem.
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And this recruitment problem only becomes more severe, as British businesses are placing technology expertise higher and higher on their list of priorities. This discrepancy between available jobs and the skills required for them is costing the economy an estimated £63bn a year in lost income.

The UK government has already pledged its commitment to lessen this widening skills gap by unveiling its Digital Strategy earlier this month. The initiative will see the creation of more than four million free digital skills training opportunities to help both businesses and individuals.

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Whilst this is a step in the right direction, it is not an immediate solution and will inevitably take a while to gain momentum and see results that solve this recruitment problem.

So, what can businesses lacking digital skills do in the meantime? The solution lies in ensuring that staff training budgets are given precedence rather than being an afterthought. This is even more important for businesses that have low staff turnover and retain an older workforce.

The digital skills crisis is a generational one; children today are digitally savvy and learn to code in schools, leaving an entire generation already in work lacking the skills required to advance in their careers.

However, asking small businesses to allocate budget to digital skills training when margins are already slim is easier said than done.

Traditional training resources can be time consuming to source, incur high costs and be executed poorly, leaving businesses out of pocket and staff with no additional knowledge at the end of it. However, there are solutions to these problems and businesses must dedicate time to finding the right ones for them and their recruitment problem.

Nowadays, thanks to online learning options, businesses don’t have to stick to traditional training methods. Whilst the only option used to involve physically bringing an external consultant into the office for a set amount of time and choosing from their stock selection of training modules, this is no longer the case.

Thanks to the digital revolution, business owners can access experts to tutor staff online, allowing training to be much more accessible, affordable and flexible. Additionally, online learning can often be consumed in bite-sized modules, enabling people to select exactly what elements they want included in their training package at the right price for them.

This shift away from traditional training methods also means that everyone can learn new skills. Whether it’s an employee who wants to learn how to code to further their career or someone who is unemployed but needs to learn certain skills to be eligible for particular roles, knowledge is no longer limited.

So whilst the future is looking brighter for tech hiring with the government’s Digital Strategy, businesses should be thinking about the present and using the online resources already available to them in the meantime to solve this recruitment problem.

Johan Hedlund is co-founder and CEO of Zeqr, a global knowledge hub set to change how people across the world exchange information

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