Digital tech to grow UK economy by over £413bn, study finds
Digital technology could grow the UK economy by over £413 billion by 2030, according to a study by independent consultancy Public First.
The study was commissioned by ecommerce giant Amazon to understand the role that cloud computing can play in achieving the UK’s digital ambitions.
The projected growth is equivalent to approximately 19% of the entire UK economy – or larger than the total regional economy of the South East of England.
“Technology is helping to drive economic growth and create new jobs and this new research shows its potential,” said digital minister Damien Collins.
Speaking on the UK’s Digital Strategy, Collins added that it is “backing the sector to spark innovation by rolling out world-class digital infrastructure, strengthening people’s digital skills and supporting businesses with cutting-edge regulation”.
Public First’s report echoes the digital minister’s intentions, suggesting that over half of UK organisations (53%) agree that digital technology has become increasingly important over the last five years.
However, it equally sheds light on barriers hampering the adoption of this technology with many organisations still not equipped with the correct tools, skills and digital infrastructure.
Some enterprises are also yet to adopt “basic technologies” with 42% of businesses not using digital tools to track orders or inventory, 31% yet to advertise online, and 38% not using social media.
The study suggests a key reason for low digital adoption is the lack of awareness of the role that technology can play in propelling business productivity.
Almost half (48%) of business leaders had not heard of cloud computing or did not know what the term “cloud computing” meant.
According to Public First, the answer lies in reskilling the existing workforce for the UK to realise its digital ambitions.
Nearly two thirds (57%) of the most digitally intensive businesses have found it difficult to find staff with good digital skills. At the same time, those businesses said that a shortage of digital skills had slowed growth (62%) and increased costs (63%).
Yet it seems that businesses aren’t doing enough to reverse these figures. Most individuals said they have not received formal digital training and 52% of respondents said they had developed their skills through trial and error, closely followed by 44% who have learnt through their own research.
Public First said that digital and cloud skills will be key to ensuring the UK can continue to compete on a global stage.
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