Research from technology company Userlane suggests two-thirds of businesses are facing a digital skills gap in their workforce, yet nine in ten (89 per cent) employees are motivated to acquire new digital skills. The findings come from the new 2023 State of Digital Adoption report from Userlane.

Some of the sought after digital skills include data analysis and interpretation (19 per cent), use of AI (17 per cent) and knowledge of online learning platforms (17 per cent).  The top motivations for employees to develop digital skills are:

  • Increase productivity and efficiency (34 per cent)
  • Keep up with tech advancements (33 per cent)
  • Improve job security (29 per cent)
  • Increase overall digital literacy (28 per cent)
  • Advance career and professional growth (28 per cent)

This drive to improve their digital skillsets reflects the challenges employees currently face regarding digital adoption. Despite over half (53 per cent) reporting that their software usage has gone up in the past year, almost all (90 per cent) are experiencing challenges with using new applications in their work.

Significantly, the report revealed that the average UK employee is losing 2.33 hours per week due to these challenges, with 53 per cent losing over an hour per week. A quarter have felt overwhelmed or stressed as a result. This isn’t good news for businesses, as 68 per cent of employees see stress-free software usage as important to their overall happiness at work, with a further 90 per cent linking it to productivity.

Additionally, just 62 per cent believe their business is providing them with sufficient training, while a similar number (65 per cent) believe they have the right IT support. Just over half (51 per cent) reported that remote working has forced them to solve software-related issues by themselves. Communication is also an issue – just one-in-six (62 per cent) feel their business explains plans for digital transformation clearly enough.

Employees are also regularly asked by others for assistance with technology. Nearly half (46 per cent) of Gen Z staff said they’ve been asked to help executives or higher-level management. Overall, employees are most likely to be asked for assistance by:

  • Colleagues within their team or department (76 per cent)
  • Friends and family (71 per cent)
  • Colleagues from other departments or teams (63 per cent)

At the same time, software training budgets are declining – UK businesses spent £1,107.63 per employee per year on training, down from £2,086.55 the previous year.

Hartmut Hahn, CEO, Userlane commented: “Employees want to stay on top of trends and take more responsibility for maintaining their digital skills. For business leaders, this is fantastic, but they must be prepared to offer the right support. This means taking the right approach to training. Our report shows that most employees prefer to apply digital skills practically – in other words, learn by doing.

“This could partly explain the decline in traditional software training budgets,” he adds. “More and more business leaders are of the opinion that traditional classroom trainings, videos and user manuals, which can be expensive and cumbersome,  are no longer practical – especially on a large scale. Instead, they need a people-focused, scalable approach to digital adoption, one which empowers employees to get familiar withsoftware at their own pace.”

“A great way to achieve this is by implementing a Digital Adoption Platform (DAP). DAPs not only integrate seamlessly with any software your employees are using, but they can also be combined with analytics tools that track and measure digital adoption progress across hundreds of different applications.”

Userlane’s 2023 State of Digital Adoption report can be viewed here.

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