Belfast Telegraph

Shortage of workers with digital skills hitting businesses, says BCC

Firms are being held back because of a shortage of workers with digital skills, a business group is warning.

The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) said some companies are facing a critical shortage of suitably skilled staff which is hitting productivity and growth.

A survey of 1,400 businesses found that most believed digital and computer skills were more important than two years ago.

The skills shortage is increasing the workload of existing employees and leading to higher operating costs, said the report.

Adam Marshall, director-general of the BCC, said: "The evidence is clear - better digital skills make firms more productive, and a lack of digital skills holds them back.

"Businesses themselves need to do a lot more to tackle the digital skills shortages they face, and their leaders need to be alive to the fact that a failure to tackle this issue will have an impact on their bottom line.

"Too many firms are stuck in an unproductive cycle, where the failure to take action has serious consequences.

"Government must help as well, by recognising that some of the high-level digital skills businesses need will come from overseas so a pragmatic immigration system needs to be in place to provide firms with access to the workers required to fill the gaps."

A Government spokesman said: "Our recent digital strategy sets out how we are working closely with businesses and others to improve the nation's digital skills, and we are making a significant investment in technical education of over half a billion pounds to deliver new technical education routes to skilled employment for 16-19-year-olds."

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