Top tech stats: Lack of digital skills, GDPR compliance and more

Welcome to your roundup of some of the past week’s most interesting surveys, statistics and reports relevant to those involved in the UK tech industry.

This week, we have statistics relating to employers’ concerns over the lack of digital skills, GDPR compliance and coding in schools.

Lack of digital skills across the workforce

Some 42% of businesses in the UK have cancelled digital projects in the past two years, on average losing £483,690 per project.

According to research unveiled in Fujitsu’s study, ‘The Digital Transformation PACT’, UK businesses are facing a bigger cost than any of their global counterparts including the US, China and Germany.

Worryingly, 3 in 4 admit to a clear lack of digital skills, while 82% state this is the biggest hindrance to cybersecurity efforts.

Additionally, the data shows that 67% of those surveyed are concerned about their ability to adapt to AI, but highlight its importance for their long-term success.

In terms of the reasons for these challenges, the digital skills gap was cited as a serious hindrance by 73% of UK leaders. As a result, 87% of participants said attracting digitally native staff was vital for the success over the next three years.

“UK businesses know how powerful technology can be and want to use digital to deliver for customers and keep ahead of the competition,” said ‎Ravi Krishnamoorthi, head of business consulting, digital & application services at Fujitsu EMEIA. “However, digital transformation is about much more than the technology alone. Businesses need to have the right skills, processes and partnerships in place – and that’s where we’re seeing UK executives struggling. We’re living in a time when digital disruption can change the business landscape virtually overnight, so UK organisations must ensure that they can transform successfully and secure their place in the global landscape.”

GDPR readiness

Research unveiled by Clearswift has shown that the education sector is rivalling technology for the top spot when it comes to GDPR preparedness.

When asked whether firms currently had all the necessary processes in place to be compliant, the top five performing sectors included technology and telecommunications (32%), education (31%), IT (29%), business services (29%) and finance (29%).

The survey also revealed that, of all the sectors, healthcare was the least likely to be ready for the upcoming GDPR, with only 17% of private and public sector bodies claiming to have the processes in place to comply with the legislation.

Following closely behind was the retail sector with a mere 18% of the industry ready for GDPR, marketing at 19% and legal at 21%.

Dr Guy Bunker, SVP of products at Clearswift, said: “With 64% of UK businesses currently making moves towards GDPR compliance, the outlook is not as bleak as previously thought.

“It is clear that the regulation has grabbed the attention of businesses, but what is important is that their focus is in the right place. Those viewing GDPR as an opportunity will be in the best position to not only comply, but evolve their organisations, enhance their security posture and achieve business growth.

“Educating employees about how to safeguard critical information, introducing data protection guidelines and instilling a culture of data consciousness in the workplace will not only bring organisations closer to compliance but help reduce the chances of a data breach,” concluded Bunker.

Coding in schools

More than half (54%) of adults in the UK perceive teaching coding in schools as a positive force for the future of the country’s economy.

That’s according to SAM Labs’ research, which also unveiled that 49% of adults believe children should be taught coding before they leave secondary school.

Despite this, 39% of children aren’t receiving coding tuition as part of the school curriculum. More than a quarter of those surveyed (29%) say the schools that are teaching it lack the resources to do so properly.

Additionally, the study shows that 70% of recent school leavers wish they had been taught to code while they were at school – with more than half of Brits saying they consider it just as important as learning a foreign language.

Joachim Horn, CEO of SAM Labs, said: “Whilst there are many brilliant teachers already engaging their students in coding lessons, we are still a long way off ensuring that all kids have access to the basic coding skills they need. By teaching coding in interesting and accessible ways, we can ensure that all pupils have the coding know-how that their parents now wish they had.”

“Not only are basic coding skills good for preparing kids for the workplace of tomorrow, they can also help to engage students in lessons across the curriculum, including everything from science to art.”