Opinion

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Lack of gadget know-how can put UK economy at risk

3 Mins

Today’s digital sector plays a major role in driving the economy, but for that to happen, the UK needs to think of both long and short term solutions. 

While focussing on educating brilliant young minds that could potentially become the next Mark Zuckerberg is, of course, a crucial factor, what about those who are already working class citizens? 

Due to employees who just don’t get gadgets, companies all over the country are having their growth potential limited. Last year, a Big Bang fair survey found that parents are so baffled by modern tech and gadgets that they had to ask their children how to use devices.

Furthermore, with O2’s findings that Britain will need 750,000 skilled digital workers by 2017, the UK can no longer afford to have most of the population unable to answer questions about tech and unconsciously steer people away from a potential digital path. 

So employers should turn their eyes to perhaps their most influential employees, those gathering experience, knowing the ins and outs of the company, the most likely to benefit from tech know-how… and the most likely to put corporate data at risk for lack of understanding.

What does it say, with the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) in full swing, when only 17 per cent of the population know exactly what their mobile phones are capable of?

This is, quite frankly, shocking due to the fact that Britons have spent £355 per person over the last year on new technology devices, such as iPads, Kindles or smart phones; treating themselves to a national total of over 70m devices.

And does this mean that those in charge of speaking to customers may not completely understand what it is they’re selling?

It’s become increasingly more important to ensure that employees are not only computer literate, but tech-savvy as well. The reason I say this is because we seemingly still lack the basic skills needed for prior technology. After all, “new” has a quick turnover rate when it comes to the pace of technology.

It might be surprising, but this could largely be due to ‘tech block’, a mental barrier that prevents you from wanting to explore. The result is someone who uses outdated tools and becomes disgruntled by new technology. And despite what one might think, ‘tech block’ applies to the newer generation as well.

What it means is that technology is still not explained to the masses correctly and that although the government focusses on increasing digital skills in school, employers should do the same for current staff.

From ERP and CRM to wearable tech that tracks employee behaviour, employers should invest in educating their own staff of the benefits and consequences that technology can bring.

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