Digital skills are key to employment according to BCS

7 May 2014

81% of employers require their workforce to have digital skills yet only 52% of employers believe that their workforce has the digital skills to meet their future challenges, according to a survey by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT.  

So what skills do you need?

The Institute’s survey of HR professionals and employers showed that email, word processing and spreadsheet skills are considered necessary for the majority of roles in the work place:

  • 97% of respondents rated email skills as either very or quite important,
  • 92% of respondents rated word processing skills as very or quite important
  • 89% of respondents rated spreadsheet skills as very or quite important

Jon Buttriss, CEO, BCS Learning & Development Ltd, part the Institute explains: “Our survey shows how important it is to be able to operate a PC, laptop, tablet or smartphone to be successful in today’s work environment. Today, almost every job relies on some aspect of technology whether it’s sitting at a PC in an office, working at a checkout or delivering parcels.”

“Employers want people to have the skills to be able to walk into a role and be productive straight away. Our findings showed that employers believe that a main benefit of these skills for the individual is increased efficiency while the organisation benefits from increased productivity.”

However, it’s not just word processing, spread sheets and data manipulation that are in demand. The survey shows that social media skills are also rated as important for the majority of roles (71% of respondents rating them as very or quite important).

Skills Minister Matthew Hancock said recently: “The modern world and workforce is becoming increasingly dependent on the internet, yet there are still 11 million people in the UK without basic digital skills. If we are to compete in the global race then we must have an IT and digitally literate population.”

Jon concludes: “Today, employment is on the up. Our survey shows that employers expect and demand digital skills so if you want the best chance of getting a job you need to prove to prospective employers that you have the skills they want.”

The Institute has today launched a campaign working with IT qualification providers and trainers across the UK to help people gain the skills they need. For further information on training availability in their area, learners can contact: or call 0300 123 1025.

*The survey was conducted online by BCS. A total of 178 responses were received during the period 17 December 2013 to 31 January 2014 (comprising: 125 completed responses, 53 partial responses which had usable data)

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