A Quarter Of Brits Fear The Sack Due To Lack Of Digital Skills

Duncan MacRae is former editor and now a contributor to TechWeekEurope. He previously edited Computer Business Review's print/digital magazines and CBR Online, as well as Arabian Computer News in the UAE.

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And 45% of professionals do not know where to go to further IT knowledge, according to a Code.org UK study

There is a huge disparity amongst UK professionals around their attitudes to digital literacy and skills, with 40% admitting they have average to poor digital knowledge.

This is the finding from research by Code.org UK, which also suggests there is a lack of understanding by those in employment about where to go to further their knowledge, with almost half (45%) stating that they don’t have access to the right resources to improve their digital skills.

Restricting future earnings

Roughly one quarter (23%) believe that a lack of digital skills could force them out of a job or restrict the chances for future earnings in five years time. This is despite the fact that 43% believe they do not have to up skill to remain part of the digital revolution.

Code.org has launched the Hour of Code – the biggest ever initiative that gives anyone the opportunity to take their first steps into understanding code. Its mission is to reach 100 million people over the next week. To achieve this, individuals are given an introduction to the basics of computer programming in just sixty minutes, through very simple and fun tutorials such as Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Microsoft’s Bill Gates teaming up to encourage learners to program their very own Angry Bird. The campaign will culminate in a global week-long focus on coding between December 8-12.

you're firedAvid Larizadeh, head of Hour of Code UK, said: “Its no surprise that so many professionals believe they do not need digital skills or are unsure about where to gain a clearer insight. There is a lot of confusion and fear about the digital world and what it might mean for us in the future. We believe code is an essential skill for the future.

“The Hour of Code campaign was designed to provide an insight as to what the wonderful world of code can create – from the next million pound entrepreneur or the mum that is learning to code with their kids. It’s important that everyone understands the link between code, and the fundamentals that underpin every device and piece of technology that we all use today. The Hour of Code acts as a fun, engaging introduction to this world.”

Mums single themselves out as the worst for digital skills, with one in five (18 percent) stating they have very low knowledge of the digital world. This sentiment was replicated in the South West and North East regions, where only five percent and three percent in those respective areas believe their knowledge was excellent. Conversely, one third of students said their understanding of the tech world was good.

A number of businesses are bucking the trend to actively offer employees their first step into further digital literacy by encouraging their entire workforces to take part in the Hour of Code. These include – Condenast, Microsoft, Moo, The Guardian, The BBC, ABRS, The Engine Group, Harper Collins, and CapGemini.

Hour of Code in the UK is being supported by some of the UK’s most influential people in technology and business including Digital Advisor to the Prime Minister, Baroness Joanna Shields, Baroness Martha Lane Fox, Ian Livingstone CBE, Co-founder Games Workshop and the Government’s Creative Industries Champion, Alex Asseily, co-Founder, Jawbone, Michael Acton Smith, Founder, Mindcandy, Kathryn Parsons, Founder, Decoded, Sherry Coutu CBE, Chairman of Founders4Schools; Karen Price OBE, CEO of Tech Partnership UK.

The Hour of Code has already been extremely successful in the UK. Over 3 million students have given coding a try.

Organisations, schools, businesses and individuals in the UK are all encouraged to participate in the Hour of Code UK by visiting hourofcode.com/uk.

Code.org UK’s research consisted of a survey of 2,000 working adults in November 2014.