Silicon UK Podcast: The State of Global Digital Skills

Anthony Tattersall, Vice President EMEA, Coursera.

The UK lags behind in global and European rankings for data and technology skills, according to Coursera’s latest Global Skills Report (GSR). The UK placed 34th globally in data skills and 47th in technology skills, lagging behind much of Western Europe and placing lower overall compared to last year’s report.

Coursera’s latest Global Skills Report draws on performance data since the pandemic’s onset from more than 77 million learners on the platform to benchmark skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries. For the first time, the Global Skills Report also reveals the top skills needed for high-demand entry-level jobs, including the learning hours required to develop them. 

Despite the global drop in rankings, it’s promising to see the UK government taking action. Most recently, the government’s partnership with Google will provide UK jobseekers with scholarships for Google Career Certificates on Coursera.

  • Despite relatively low global rankings, the UK still appears competitive in data science and technology skills: In the field of data science, the UK has a 69% skills proficiency. In the field of technology, the UK has 57% skills proficiency. 
  • Traditional skills such as math, and probability and statistics rank highest across tech and data science: The UK has a 79% skills proficiency for mathematics and 75% skills proficiency for probability and statistics.
  • The UK performs well in machine learning and theoretical computer science: The UK has 72% skills proficiency in machine learning and 71% skills proficiency in theoretical computer science. The Machine Learning course offered by Stanford University was also the second most popular course among UK learners.
  • Female STEM learning increased as digital transformation rose in importance: The share of female enrollment in STEM courses increased from 34% in 2018-19 to 42% in 2020. The percentage of UK female learners on the platform is 49%. 

Anthony Tattersall, Vice President EMEA.

As the Vice President of Europe, Middle East & Africa for Coursera, Anthony brings more than 20 year’s experience in the Learning industry and has worked in multiple areas of HR and Education solutions, with a significant focus on Learning and Development. He is passionate about exploring how learning and technology can improve lives, build skills and develop the next generation of leaders. Anthony has had an extensive career advising top institutions and senior executives on transformative projects. Prior to Coursera he was at Cornerstone, where he was Area Vice President UK. His team provided HR solutions encompassing Learning, Content, Recruiting, Performance Management, and Core HR. He has an M.B.A. from Durham University Business School.

Coursera was launched in 2012 by two Stanford Computer Science professors, Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, with a mission to provide universal access to world-class learning. It is now one of the largest online learning platforms in the world, with 82 million registered learners as of March 31, 2021. Coursera partners with over 200 leading university and industry partners to offer a broad catalogue of content and credentials, including Guided Projects, courses, specialisations, certificates, and bachelor’s and master’s degrees.