Scotland’s skilled digital workers answer employer demand

Workers in Scotland have some of the best digital skills in the UK, finds Barclays

Employees in Scotland have some of the best digital skills in the UK.

That’s according to new research from Barclays, which says such employees are currently meeting the digital skills demand of the nation’s employers.
The Barclays Digital Development Index 2017, which analysed 88,000 UK job adverts and 6,000 adults, found that Scotland ranks 4th overall for digital skills – following London, Northern Ireland and North West England.
The bank says that, with three in five (60%) Scots boasting ‘above-basic’ digital skills, it seems demand (59%) from employers is being met.
Scots topped the UK poll for ‘solving problems’ – scoring 6.70 out of 10 in The Index (0.22 above the UK average). But even though Scotland is above the UK average for five out of six of the digital skills categories, the region is below the UK average for ‘content creation and coding’ skills (3.42 vs UK average of 3.44).
Barcays says that when comparing cities, it’s no surprise that Edinburgh – which has long been considered as Scotland’s digital hub – is significantly outperforming the ‘friendly’ city (Glasgow). The capital scored 5.90 out of 10 for digital skills and 6.25 out of 10 for digital safety (versus Glasgow’s scores of 5.51 and 6.05).
It claims that if workers are willing to up-skill and become digital ‘experts’, they could earn more money as Scottish employers will pay a premium of £9,029 a year for digital skills that include programming and software design.
Earnings boosts of more than £7,000 a year are also up for grabs for those with graphic design, data and 3D modelling skills – a significantly higher premium than the UK average (£3,000 a year), demonstrating Scotland’s demand for graphic design, data and 3D modelling skills.
  • Scotland scores in the top four of all UK regions in an assessment of nationwide digital skills
  • 60% of Scots have ‘above-basic’ digital skills, meeting current demand from employers
  • Scottish digital workers have the best problem solving skills in the UK
  • Edinburgh performing better than Glasgow for digital skills and safety
  • Scottish workers with ‘expert’ digital skills can earn £9,029 more a year
The nationwide picture
Unlike in Scotland, digital skills across the UK are not keeping pace with demand, says the bank. The Barclays Index found that 63% of UK jobs require digital skills such as word-processing, database spreadsheet or social media management skills, but only 57% of the workforce has these capabilities. This mismatch will worsen as digital skills become even more vital to British businesses.
And although they have up to 30 years left in their working lives, it seems Generation X (35-54 year olds) is being left behind. Those aged 35-44 are 11% less likely than their millennial colleagues to say they are very confident about their digital skills. Generation X workers are also more worried about their ability to keep their skills up-to-date (21.5% have confidence in their ability to do so, versus 28% for millennials).
Education also boosts digital scores; Masters Graduates score 35% higher than those who leave school without any qualifications. And those in management positions score far better in the tests than those in junior positions, and 20% above the UK average.
Jamie Grant, Head of Corporate Banking for Barclays in Scotland, said: “In recent years, we’ve seen a movement across Scotland to tackle digital exclusion and with improved digital skills returning a range of social, cultural and economic benefits it is clear why it is of such importance.
“With this come the issues of cybersecurity and cybercrime. Digital safety has never been more important but with Scotland sitting at the half way point of the UK Digital Safety Index, it’s evident that more can be done to upweight our ability to deal with these issues as well as improving skills.
“In direct response to this, we launched a multi-million pound #digisafe campaign earlier this year, the centrepiece of which is a new online digital safety quiz – a great starting point for anyone looking to develop their knowledge.”
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