The Institute of Coding, in collaboration with industry experts, has released a comprehensive report shedding light on the current state of digital skills in the UK.

The findings reveal a nuanced picture, showcasing both the challenges and opportunities in the nation’s digital landscape. The report underscores a significant digital skills gap, with only 50% of the UK population expressing confidence in their digital abilities. This insight raises concerns about the overall preparedness of the workforce for an increasingly digital future.

Barriers to Skill Enhancement

Cost and time emerge as primary barriers hindering individuals from improving their digital skills. Approximately 40% of respondents believe that courses and training are prohibitively expensive, while 30% perceive acquiring adequate skills as time-consuming.

Addressing these challenges, the Institute of Coding (IoC) stands as a valuable resource. The IoC, led by the University of Bath, offers thousands of free digital short courses. This initiative aims to make digital learning accessible to all, irrespective of financial constraints or time commitments.

Demographic Representation and Gender Gap

The report indicates that perceived lack of representation in the tech industry is a deterrent for many individuals. Only 21% of respondents believe the tech sector reflects the diversity of the UK. Moreover, the gender gap is evident, with just 14% of respondents able to name a female tech leader.

To tackle demographic imbalances, the IoC is actively working towards making digital careers inclusive. Specialised courses, such as ‘Click Start by TechUPWomen in IT Skills 2024,’ are designed to encourage women from underrepresented groups to pursue tech careers.

Changing Perceptions and Career Aspirations

Despite challenges, there is a positive inclination towards tech careers. The poll indicates that 26% of respondents wish they had pursued a digital-led career. Among the younger demographic (18–24-year-olds), 57% believe the tech industry offers lucrative opportunities.

Encouragingly, 16% of respondents express their intent to make 2024 a year of career change. This aligns with the abundant opportunities in the tech sector, with an estimated 870,000 vacancies nationwide.

Insights from Prof. Rachid Hourizi and Julian David

Professor Rachid Hourizi MBE, Director of the Institute of Coding, emphasizes the nation’s enthusiasm for embracing the tech industry. He highlights the IoC’s commitment to breaking barriers and providing flexible, free programmes to upskill the population.

Julian David, CEO of techUK, underscores the industry’s responsibility to invest in people and bridge existing skill gaps. He commends the Institute of Coding’s efforts in fostering a collaborative culture of lifelong learning.

The report signals a call to action for the UK to proactively address digital skills challenges and leverage the growing interest in tech careers. The Institute of Coding stands as a pivotal player in this transformative journey, fostering an inclusive and skilled digital workforce.