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Boost your earnings by £100,000 in a decade with digital skills

  • The UK faces a major skills gap almost half of us (43 per cent) don’t have the digital skills required by most jobs
  •  Workers with expert digital skills can earn up to £10,000 more a year
  • Generation X most worried about their digital skills
  • Londoners and employees in Northern Ireland, Scotland and the North West are the UK’s most digitally skilled

Want to get ahead at work and earn more money? Get digital. That’s the conclusion of Barclays Digital Development Index 2017 which analysed 88,000 UK job adverts and assessed the digital skills and confidence of 6,000 adults.

The advert analysis shows that employers will pay a premium of up to £10,000 a year for digital skills including programming and software design, meaning workers could generate £100k of additional earnings in just ten years. Earnings boosts of £3,000 a year are also up for grabs for those with graphic design, data and 3D modelling skills.

This could make all the difference to someone saving for a house deposit, feeling the financial squeeze of caring for relatives, covering tuition fees or saving for retirement.

Building digital capabilities and confidence could also help the UK plug a major skills gap. The Barclays Index finds that 63 per cent of UK jobs require digital skills such as word-processing, database spreadsheet or social media management skills, but only 57 per cent of the workforce have these capabilities. If not addressed, this mismatch will worsen as digital skills become even more vital to businesses.

And although they have up to 30 years left in their working lives, it seems Generation X (35-54 year olds) are being left behind. Those aged 35-44 are 11 per cent 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 (23 per cent have confidence in their ability to do so, versus 28 per cent for millennials).

Education also boosts digital skills and therefore respondent scores; Masters Graduates score 36 per cent 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 per cent above the UK average.

National and regional differences

Digital skills and the demand for them vary across the UK. London and Northern Ireland are the regions where digital skills are the most in demand (66 per cent and 70 per cent of job ads ask for ‘above basic’ digital skills as a minimum requirement)1,2, they are also the two regions with the most digitally skilled workers.

Londoners scored six per cent above the national average in a test of their ability and confidence to perform a range of digital tasks such as using apps and devices to plan journeys or make payments, creating websites and sharing data on social platforms.3 Outside of the capital, people in Northern Ireland, the North West and Scotland have the best digital capabilities.

However, skills gaps in the Southeast, East, South West of England and Wales are acute (Figure 1 for full details). Demand for digital skills and the salary premiums they command are among the highest in the country, but digital skills in these regions lag behind the rest of the UK. 

Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK said:

“People’s level of digital prowess is fast becoming a key determinant of their earning power, yet the UK today is a patchwork of digital skills. Where you live, how old you are, what you do and your education level have an impact on your digital abilities and confidence.

“Digital skills can provide a vital boost to household finances and everyone deserves the opportunity to benefit from this. At a time when wage growth is so important to families in the UK, we must act fast to improve our home-grown digital skills if the UK is to stay at the forefront of the global digital economy post-Brexit.”

Matt Hancock, Minister for Digital said:

“We welcome this valuable research from Barclays, which further demonstrates the huge opportunities that gaining digital skills can open up for citizens and the economy as a whole. This is exactly why government is working with Barclays and a wide range of other organisations to create the Digital Skills Partnership.

Together with our partners, we can increase coherence of local and national digital skills support and ensure the UK is equipped to be a world leading digital economy for years to come."

Figure 1

Notes to editors

1 ‘Above basic’ digital skills include proficiency with word processing, database spreadsheet and social media management. ‘Basic’ digital skills include the ability to send and receive emails and search online.

2 The national average for jobs requiring “above basic” skills is 63% of all jobs advertised

3 The Barclays Digital Development Index 2017 was conducted by Longitude Research. A detailed survey of 6,000 UK adults was conducted online in February and March 2017 to assess how “digitally empowered” respondents are, by conducting an assessment across 18 different digital skills grouped in six categories: researching and evaluating, communicating and collaborating, protecting data and devices, content creation and coding, solving problems, and knowledge and attitude.

Data from over 88,300 job advertisements posted online during the course of a week in March 2017 were also analysed to determine the types of digital skills most in demand across the UK today.

The methodology builds on the 2016 Barclays Digital Development Index, which rated and compared digital skills in the UK with nine other countries. 

About Barclays

Barclays is a transatlantic consumer, corporate and investment bank offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

For further information about Barclays, please visit our website .