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100,000 more small businesses have basic digital skills, but “further awareness” needed

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The Index, in association with Accenture and digital skills charity Go ON UK, found that 25% of organisations believed digital was “irrelevant” to them.

This means over 1m small businesses are putting their future at risk because they lack basic digital skills.

This “digital blind-spot” said Lloyds, meant they were missing out on potential revenue and customer interaction and “potentially jeopardising their success”.

The number of charities with basic digital skills dropped from 45 to 42 per cent from a year ago – a decrease of around 6,000.

However the number of SMEs with basic digital skills has improved since 2014, increasing from 75 per cent to 77 per cent – an increase of over 100,000.

The Index said there had been a significant rise in “digital maturity” in the north west and north east following regional programmes to boost digital skills. London remains the area with the most digitally skilled businesses.

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Lloyds said SMEs with a high level of digital skills in their organisation are more likely to report an increase in turnover in the past two years compared with those that are the least digitally equipped.

“The UK Business Digital Index provides a crucial measure of how UK small businesses and charities are adopting digital technology and we are extremely proud to be able to offer this insight and establish a strong link between digital skills and organisational success,” said Miguel-Angel Rodriguez-Sola, group director for Digital at Lloyds. 

“In just one year it is pleasing to see that over 100,000 more small businesses in the UK now have basic digital skills. But what is also clear is that real challenges remain – over a million small businesses and charities still lack basic digital skills and the perceived benefits of being digital remain. We cannot emphasise enough the benefits that digital adoption can offer – such as saving time, increasing revenue or funding or reaching wider audiences. Digital is the key to unlock these benefits.”

He called on “further awareness” to give businesses and charities the confidence to do more online.

Business minister Matthew Hancock added: “Digital skills and online promotion are an essential part of starting and growing a modern business. This report shows that although there has been some improvement in small firms embracing the internet, more organisations should be taking advantage of all the benefits of being online. 

“We want to make life as easy as possible for Britain’s small firms and I encourage all entrepreneurs to get behind the government’s Do More Online drive.”

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