Digital divide in the UK affecting low social mobility: Vodafone report
The report explained that within the next 10-20 years, 90% of jobs will require some form of digital skills. Adding, “with digital skills having such a pronounced impact on the careers of today and of the future, it is inevitable that those who are digitally excluded will be disadvantaged most.”
The report called on the government to aid in closing the digital divide, with the purpose of upskilling the UK in preparation of future demands and improving social mobility.
The lowest income households face digital exclusion considerably by having limited access to the internet – with just under a third (29%) of respondents in its study saying that they had to share a device for work and education and consequently troubling productivity. Additionally, 44% of those in lower income household did not have access to relevant software, such as Excel and Word, needed to complete their work or education in the past year in comparison to 23% of the population in total.
The study stressed further on the lack of social mobility caused by the digital divide and how closing it can aid in employability: “There is also clear links between digital skills and employability. Data from the Good Things Foundation shows that 76% of those who improved their digital skills went on to find employment.”
“The divide across socio-economic status and employment levels is only likely to be exacerbated as technology advance. Without addressing those who are currently digitally excluded, the digital divide will only get worse, with parts of society being left further and further behind.”
Vodafone UK CEO Admen Essam called on the government “to introduce measures such as a voucher scheme and cross departmental government taskforces, alongside supporting the telecommunications sector through a regulatory and policy framework to help deliver the Governments digital ambitions, working together we can close the digital divide for good.”
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