The UK IT Skills Gap


For years, there has been a range of quiet warnings from the UK IT sector that there was a domestic skills gap. And while for years that has been something acknowledged, spaces were either not filled or filled by non-UK residents. While that has worked for companies for a while, research is beginning to show that times might be changing – and sadly not for the better.

A recent survey carried out by STL Training shows some damning insights into the UK IT skills gap. It’s not a positive thing, either; it shows a massive disparity in what is available versus what is actually needed. A marked skill gap now exists, and it can mean that many people might struggle to find the job they need based on the skills they presently have.

The survey carried out found that over one third of those who were asked are led to believe that their lack of IT skills is stopping them from doing their job effectively. Indeed, some estimate they lose as much as 10 hours per month in salary trying to figure out the complexity of the IT systems they use. This is a lot of money being lost in unproductivity caused by a skills gap.

The cost to the IT sector is larger than you would think

It’s estimated that this could mean that employers are losing something in the region of £1,600 per employee, per year, based on the average salary of an IT office worker. These skills are costing companies time, it’s costing staff their mental health, and it’s meaning that everyone is losing out from the decisions which are being made.

The IT sector, then, is in need of a ramp-up of skills training for as many people as it can. The days of simply being able to ignore or brush off the IT limits of the modern workforce are dying out. Simply hoping that people can become IT literate at home without training is no longer an acceptable way to help make up the shortfall in the UK.

Indeed, research shows that half of UK office workers admit to not having full control over using general purpose tools like Microsoft Word, Microsoft Excel, or Microsoft PowerPoint. They also stated that spreadsheets and presentation tools were among the ‘most problematic’ part of the job they are doing.

With around 10 million people working in the office industry in the UK today, this means that an estimated £16bn per year is lost due to a lack of basic IT skills. Considering the cost of standard IT training, companies could turn around their losses into profits by simply having more attuned, more productive, and more easily understood IT training in place.

The days of being able to simply get by using the one IT-literate staff member in the office are gone. Today, staff need more help to improve the skills they need to do the job they require. That’s why this research shows the desire for immediate corrective action moving forward. 

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