Britain's Digital Future

Is It Time To Re-Shape Britain’s Digital Future?

5 March 2015

2014 has been and gone, and Europe’s digital economy has been reviewed. Things make interesting, if not exactly great reading for the UK. Although Great Britain is Europe’s sixth best digital performer, it is still out-performed by the likes of Denmark, Finland and Belgium.

So is there revolution in the air? Well not quite, but according to Umbrella’s Richard Perch, the UK’s tech sector is already coming under closer scrutiny than in years gone by: “There was definitely a sense that the assessment of the UK’s digital performance marked a potential watershed. Although we’ve seen the infrastructure here really improve, with faster connections, broadband, competitive pricing and a thriving tech jobs sector, the UK sits firmly in the ‘could do better’ camp.”

“Fortunately, the wheels have been rolling for a little while now with the express intention to make the UK a real star pupil. We are seeing – at Governmental level – how the Internet is increasingly referred to as a precious resource rather than a luxury, how increasing digital skills training in or school children is as vital as Maths education.”

“A recent report to the House Of Lords showcased how SMEs could very well hold the key to rapidly expanding Britain’s digital footprint. Estimating that nearly £20billion worth of revenue and 60,000 jobs could be created if SMEs could readily access, deploy and benefit from the tech savvy that is native to, say, the UK’s burgeoning creative industries.”

“The Government itself is reviewing just how it approaches digital, and how well it is imparting the message that ‘digital matters!’ At a wider level tech companies – and companies desperate for tech and digital skill sets – are facing a rush on hiring as the numbers of talented IT professionals doesn’t meet demand.”

“This means our schools and universities need to do more to bring through graduates. Interestingly, even digital firms themselves point out a skills shortage hampering their growth efforts.”

“So maybe now we are reaching the point where fundamental changes to education - or indeed changing the way we talk about and engage with digital or the Internet – are necessary to set Britain back on the front foot in the next decade or so.”