THE UK is losing out on

£63 billion every year as companies struggle to fill digital positions, according to new research.

The report from global IT firm Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) and the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has highlighted the UK’s rapidly accelerating digital talent gap.

More than two thirds (67%) of companies across the UK have unfilled digital vacancies, while one in five firms is unable to find employees with basic computer skills – including writing documents and using spreadsheets.

Larger organisations also agreed their digital skills needs were set to sky-rocket over the next three to five years, but less than a third (31%) are confident that the UK business community will be able to access the digital skills required.

Gopalan Rajagopalan, head of TCS Scotland said, “The digital economy is a significant contributor to Scotland’s growth, local employment and to the wider economy. While the sector is expected to see continued expansion, in order to maximise the opportunities it offers to Scotland, the growing skills gap highlighted in this report must be addressed.

“TCS Scotland has been working to address this through a variety of initiatives such as our Digital Explorers and other STEM programmes to engage students and inspire the next generation to pursue a technology career. However, this new research with the CBI makes it clear that for the economy to remain competitive, it is important to continually invest in reskilling the current workforce and ensure students study the relevant courses to allow even more people to benefit from the great career opportunities in technology.”

Advanced digital skills are in greater demand in all sectors, with 55% of larger firms reporting challenges in recruiting software engineers and 61% struggling to hire data analysts.

In response to the findings, the CBI urged the Government to set an ambitious target on digital skills by 2025 and work with businesses to engage educational institutions.

The CBI also encouraged businesses to better understand their digital skills needs and coordinate with policy makers to create local skills provision opportunities.