Top tech stats: cybercrime, technology in the UK curriculum & more

reports on table

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 peer-to-peer sharing sites and cybercrime, the value of skills within technology and digital technologies in schools following this week’s GCSE results.

Peer-to-peer sharing sites

Data from the ThreatMetrix Cybercrime Report has revealed a 350% increase in fraudulent new account registrations on peer-to-peer media platforms. This is in comparison to fraudulent account registrations in the same quarter in 2015.

Cybercriminals appear to be taking a seasonal approach to fraud, targeting sharing sites within the summer months.

The report also found that nearly one in four media transactions were rejected in Q2 Europe-wide ahead of the holiday season. This represents a 92% increase over 2015.

In the UK, 58% of transactions are from mobile devices, significantly higher than the global average of 40%.

Vanita Pandey, vice president, strategy and product marketing at ThreatMetrix, commented: “Using compromised and stolen identities from recent breaches and social engineering hacks, fraudsters are able to exploit these platforms and readers. While there is no direct victim of malicious or false content, the impact is extensive.”

Skills value

A survey by manufacturing organisation EEF has indicated the value of skills is central to the fourth industrial revolution.

While some 38% of manufacturers said they will need new software in order to adopt advances in technology, more than 80% of firms said staff skills are key.thumbs 80

Steve Hill, director of external engagement at The Open University, commented: “It is encouraging to see companies recognising that simply investing in new technologies alone will not transform their business.

“The pace of change in many of the technologies that we are using today means that even the most experienced of employees may need a skills boost. Organisations must focus on lifelong training across their workforce, as they cannot rely simply on younger individuals coming into the company to bring the necessary skillsets.

“As companies are increasingly able to rely on technology to perform tasks, their employees’ ability to contribute creativity, communication and collaboration will be necessary to set their business apart.”

Digital curriculum

Following Thursday’s GCSE results, data from the Barclays Digital Development Index shows the UK ranks joint second for the quality of its digital skills curriculum in compulsory education, only behind South Korea.

The UK is also top of the list for digital technology within schools, with only 7% of secondary and 9% of primary schools claiming they are under-resourced with computers.

However, the data shows the UK is fourth for the quality of its digital skills teaching in compulsory education, behind Estonia, South Korea and Sweden, due to a shortfall in the computing teaching workforce.

Similarly, the UK came 7th out of 10 for vocational and workplace digital skills, and only 38% of UK workers interviewed for the study say their employer offers training in digital skills

Ashok Vaswani, chief executive of Barclays UK, commented: “It’s great to see that IT and Computing are increasingly popular choices for students at GCSE, but it is concerning that the number of people achieving an A*-A grade is continuing to fall.

“It is vital that we build on the efforts made at a secondary education level to encourage the business leaders of tomorrow to continue to develop their digital skills into higher education and their working lives.”

Empowered leavers

Despite the fall in A*-A grades in ICT, a report by Dice UK has revealed that 7 in 10 school leavers believe a career in technology would help them drive positive social change.

The School Leavers Study, which surveyed 1,000 students, also indicated that technology was the sector that most young people say they would be proud to work in (54%), topping medicine (41%), engineering (31%) and healthcare (26%).

To be a success in the tech sector, those surveyed deemed creativity (45%), a keen eye for detail (39%) and good analytical skills (38%) to be the most critical transferable skills.

Some 13% also said they’d feel comfortable going solo in pursuit of their tech career.

Jamie Bowler, marketing director of Dice Europe, commented: “It is great to see that the success of UK tech professionals on the global stage is having such an inspiring affect on the next generation of school leavers.  The UK undoubtedly leads Europe in terms of tech innovation and the opportunities we can afford tech professionals who come here to work. By enthusing the next generation of graduates as this report suggests, the industry collectively safeguards its future as a global pioneer and ensures that our best and brightest are encouraged to fulfill their potential within the technology industry.”

That’s all for this week! To check out previous instalments of our tech stats series click here!