Insights Digital Futures: Don’t just be a consumer – create
20 March 2017

Digital Futures: Don’t just be a consumer – create

Digital

Digital technology is changing your life. Have you noticed?

This time last year you’d probably have been forgiven for not knowing what an Uber was. You might have also been wondering why so many cyclists were suddenly ditching backpacks and strapping green boxes to their backs.

But now, to Uber is as common as to Google. Tech brands quickly become everyday actions in their own right.

Some of us will have forgotten that click and collect or online was not always how we shopped - let alone possible by a few taps on our smartphones- which, by the way, weren’t that smart. We couldn’t have dreamed of such convenience- and now we expect it.

On-demand – expecting things when we want them – has made way for the gig economy.

Now we can use an app to hail a ride from our exact location or to get our favourite restaurant to peddle their food to our front door- blending convenience and value. The gig economy is changing the way we work, clocking in and out around our own availability.

And this is all because of technology - how we live and how we work transformed by innovators, makers and doers who look beyond traditional business models and see an answer in the possibilities of technology

If that’s not all interesting enough - well here’s why it matters.

The future is digital. Digital, tech, tech start, tech futures- however you recognise it, digital will continue to redefine how we live, work and play. The tech sector is growing at twice the pace of UK business enterprises as a whole- turnover amongst digital businesses in 2014 was £209bn- accounting for six per cent of the UK total.

Yet currently the UK faces a digital skills gap. We are experts when it comes to using technology – but lag behind in creating it.

According to the Science and Technology Select Committee, it is estimated that the UK will need 745,000 additional workers with digital skills to meet rising demand from employers by the end of the year –and the Tech Partnership tell us that 52 percent of digital businesses are reporting digital vacancies as hard to fill.

This means only one thing: a huge opportunity.

In theory that’s 745,000 jobs ripe for plucking just for you- and in easy reach with the right combination of qualifications and experience, both of which can be gained from a digital traineeship and apprenticeship.

And don’t think digital skills only apply to jobs in the tech sector – they are important for us all, almost 90 percent of new jobs are estimated to require digital skills to some degree- with 72 percent of employers surveyed unwilling to interview candidates who do not have basic IT skills.

There is also another reason why digital skills are important for your employment prospects. Automation is quietly revolutionising workforce roles- when was the last time you used a self-checkout? Estimates are wildly varied, ranging from half of jobs to one in ten being lost over the next two decades; whatever the figure, automation will mean millions of jobs change or disappear.

Investing in digital skills now will ensure you aren’t caught out by automation, but rather are equipped to be a part of the change.

Be a creator- and shape your own digital future.

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Did you know:

Tech industry workers tend to be qualified to a higher level than other workers- in 2015 just over six in ten (62 percent) were found to hold some form of higher education level qualification.

In 2015, the average gross weekly earnings for all full-time staff working in the tech industries was 37% higher than the all-industry average.

Name: Daniel Quirke
Job title: Senior Labour Market Analyst