Scots computer literacy rates essential to sustained recovery

Computer literacy amongst Scots must be drastically improved if Scotland is to keep up with the economic recoveries of England and Wales.

According to one of Scotland’s leading IT and software firms, Scotland has significantly lower computing skills when compared to the rest of the UK which is hindering the jobs market and a sustained recovery.

In the latest Skills in Scotland survey, 16% of businesses owners reported that skill gaps had a major impact on their business last year – 27% of which reported a lack of basic IT skills.

Alistair Findlater, managing director of Tycom warns that there must be increased investment in IT and computing skills from the government and employers if Scotland is to compete. He said: “In Scotland we have a productivity gap which could be closed by investing in IT skills. Scots are 10% less likely to report that computers play an important role in their working lives, or that they use computers in an advanced manner when compared to their UK counterparts. That’s a relatively high figure when considering the ever increasing role of IT in the labour market and in supporting economic development.”

According to a report by Future Skills Scotland, Scots are also less likely to report that the Internet is an important day-to-day tool in the workplace when compared to the average UK worker.

The report states that particularly notable is the magnitude of the difference in complexity of computer use in Scotland which is 18% lower than the UK average. It also claims that workers in Scotland use around 4% less skills in their jobs than their counterparts in the rest of the UK.

Findlater said: “Scotland must look to the future in establishing itself as a driving force of growth in the UK. In order to do this we must ensure that the workforce is adequately skilled to handle the ever changing role of technology in business and compete with the “knowledge economies”. We have a big job to do in bridging the computer literacy gap, but it is nevertheless a vital challenge to overcome if Scotland is to compete with the rest of the UK, as well as on an international scale.”

A recent report from the Clydesdale Bank reported that Scottish companies believe that IT industry is amongst the most entrepreneurial. 

Similarly a report by IT trade body ScotlandIS said there is an “urgent need” for ICT skills to be better embedded across Scotland in order to enable innovation as the economy increasingly bases itself around selling services.

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