Digital skills gap image of two people trying to work out a problem on a computer

Today, The House of Lords released its Digital Exclusion report, which revealed that up to 10 million adults in the UK now lack basic digital skills — like using a computer to surf the web, edit word documents, or even access online banking.  

The report advises the prime minister to take “decisive action” and set out a cross-governmental plan to tackle digital exclusion, warning that the government currently lacks a credible plan to tackle digital poverty despite wanting to become an AI tech superpower. It found:

  • At least 2.4 million people are still unable to complete a single basic digital task to get online

  • Five million workers will be acutely under-skilled in basic digital skills by 2030

  • 1.7 million households have no broadband or mobile internet access

  • Huge numbers of people leaving school who lack even the most basic of digital skills and are unprepared to enter the workforce

  • This is despite the fact 82% of all jobs advertised in 2022 listed digital skills as a key requirement.

The Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR) estimated that filling basic digital skills vacancies would generate an estimated £2.7 billion for UK businesses, plus £586 million in increased worker earnings and £179 million in additional earnings from finding work.

Agata Nowakowska, AVP EMEA, Skillsoft says: “With the rapid advancement of technologies impacting every aspect of society, glaring gaps in the UK’s digital literacy have been exposed. The latest Digital Exclusion report emphasises the pressing need for immediate action to help build people’s confidence around the digital skills needed to be independent, foster development and gain employment in today’s ever-evolving digital era.

“Schools and universities bear a crucial responsibility in nurturing the essential skills, adaptability and mindset required for digital literacy. They play a vital role in equipping young individuals with the necessary competencies to thrive in a technology-driven workplace. By actively engaging students through practical experiences, such as building websites or utilising robotic toys, they can foster their interest and involvement in technology. Additionally, introducing mandatory subjects like coding would enable students to hone their skills while developing complex problem-solving abilities and critical thinking.

“In parallel, businesses can contribute by offering training programs and collaborating with local schools and universities to establish initiatives that further enhance digital literacy among students. And to stay competitive, business leaders should assess digital skills and capabilities within their organisation, benchmarking these against growth requirements, and then initiating workforce development programmes that will appropriately help reskill and upskill employees. Continuous lifelong learning will ensure employees are adaptable to new developments, helping organisations build a supportive work environment that fosters digital literacy and ensures nobody is left behind.”

To find out more about the report and to read the overview, visit: The Government has “no credible strategy” to tackle digital exclusion.