And London’s businesses could be in for a big windfall if they fully harness digital potential, Virgin Media Business report claims
Government-backed research by Virgin Media Business, along with Oxford Economics, estimates that companies in the UK could benefit by up to £92 billion by fully embracing digital technologies over the next few years.
The boost promised by new tech could amount to 2.5 percent of GDP and create more than a million new jobs across all industries over the next two years.
In the past year alone, an increase in the digital capabilities of British businesses generated £123 billion in business revenues, equivalent to 3.4 percent of the nation’s total GDP.
London understandably takes quite a large slice of the £92 billion total, estimated to be around £48.5 billion, due to the capital’s strong concentration of start-ups and strong existing technology companies.
However other regions are catching up fast, with the report highlighting that Scottish businesses could increase revenues by 3.6 percent (£10.7 billion), followed by Wales, the North-West and South-East, who could all see a 3.1 percent rise.
And it is these small businesses that stand to gain the most from digital technologies, with the report estimating that SMEs with fewer than 250 employees could expect an additional £56 billion boost if they had access to the best digital capabilities available.
“The significant digital opportunity for businesses of all types and the economy as a whole is one that we can’t ignore,” said digital economy minister Ed Vaizey MP. “Government will continue working alongside companies like Virgin Media to transform the UK’s digital capabilities and laying the foundations for a thriving, digitally-led future.”
And despite the widespread expectation that going digital will result in major job cuts (which the report estimates will number approximately 300,000 jobs or two percent of the workforce), more than four in ten businesses (44 percent) expect no jobs at all to become obsolete and across all industries new hires outweigh any losses.
In fact, many UK companies are optimistic about the next few years, with around 1.1million new jobs being created, making a net gain of 800,000 positions.
“Digital technologies are transforming the face of business and the wider UK economy, and it’s clear that all UK companies see the huge potential that digital has for growth,” said Peter Kelly, managing director of Virgin Media Business.
“However, the incredible pace of change means there is no place to hide, or room to stand still. Any business with ambitions to grow through digital needs to invest in the right technology and skills, while the government and industry have to deliver the infrastructure and support to help them. Over the coming years we’re investing £3 billion to bring the fastest broadband to more businesses of all sizes, to help them seize the chance to become digital leaders.”
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