Is the UK Government closing the digital skills gap?
"I got asked this question this week and it made me think…
"The UK Government has just launched a new Digital Skills Council to tackle the skills gap, which is estimated to be costing the UK economy as much as £63bn a year, yes you read that right, its reported at that level, crazy isn’t it. Although it must be a figure cooked up by a consultancy firm based around perceived cost saving efficiencies that could come from a perfect world of digital transformation, adoption, and lots of automation one would imagine."
Over 80% of all jobs advertised in the UK now require digital skills.
"A good slug of that cost must be coming though from private sector spending on digital capability due to a lack of skills in government themselves. I did a quick sweep of Civil Service Software Engineer salaries online this week and the range sits between £25k and £52k (the upper end included a big exceptional bonus). Meanwhile, the providers of digital skills to government are offering entry level salaries in the £30k bracket, with experienced hires commanding salaries that can exceed £100k. Is training apprentices going to be enough? And how the heck are they going to hold onto that talent with those pay scales?
"It is a massive problem, and whilst the advent of the digital skills council is a great step forward for UK plc, surely more must be done in government itself to tackle the problem? The capability of the private sector is key to successfully transforming government. But how about every externally provided individual has a contracted responsibility to upskill a member of the civil service? How about more joint ventures are created, so clever technology firms can work with government to create services that everyone shares in the benefit of? How about the hiring and training of new digital skills is done by a “government, technology, recruiter” partnership – where three parties bring their combined expertise together to benefit government? How about our non-permanent workforce are treated as just that, project by project, with skills handover a pre-requisite of role and therefore no deemed employment and therefore attractively outside IR35? I have more ideas too…..!
"So well done UK Gov on the formation of the Digital Skills Council – but more thought and work to do if even a fraction of that potential £63bn saving pot is to be achieved I think."