UK must invest in digital skills, say Microsoft and CBI

UK must invest in digital skills, say Microsoft and CBI

Move will improve business outcomes and create inclusive workplaces that support well-being

Elly Yates-Roberts |

The UK must invest in digital skills to improve business outcomes and create inclusive workplaces that support employees’ mental well-being, according to the new CBI/Microsoft Tech Tracker 2020.

The report celebrates companies’ efforts to accelerate technology adoption. It found that, this year, many organisations have quickly implemented video conferencing and cloud computing solutions to deal with the challenges create by Covid-19 and improve agility and productivity. 

Despite this, 56 per cent of respondents said that they lacked the skills to fully understand and use their data to drive strategic decision-making. However, 65 per cent said that they are using their data to improve employee satisfaction and support employee welfare. 

“Businesses of all sizes have been innovating at lightning pace, supported by the adoption of technology,” said Matthew Fell, chief UK policy director at CBI. “Even in times of disruption, companies can invest in technology for the health of their operations as well as the welfare of their employees.

“Now more than ever these two factors are inexorably linked. Finding a balance that encourages employees to develop their skills, helps them maintain good mental health and ultimately drive business performance holds the key to building back better.”

To accelerate the UK’s economic recovery, the CBI and Microsoft are encouraging UK businesses to foster diversity to boost company performance and move away from existing societal inequalities. They are also suggesting that firms provide training opportunities to help employees become more proficient with technologies and to close skills gaps.

“While this report highlights the role technology has played in helping navigate these turbulent times, it has also unearthed new challenges,” said Rich Ellis, small, medium and corporate business lead at Microsoft UK. “Although organisations have access to more data than ever before, many lack the skills to extract true value from it. This must change if the UK is to thrive in a post-Covid-19, post-Brexit world.

“Microsoft is committed to working with the CBI, organisations of all sizes and the Government to upskill the UK’s workforce in a fair and inclusive manner that creates broad opportunity for everyone.”

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