UK skills lag behind Europe in business and tech

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The UK is lagging behind in important business skills compared with other European countries.

According to US online skills company Coursera, the UK is the lowest performing country in Europe for business skills, at 29% overall proficiency, placing it at 77th in global rankings.

Drawing on performance data since the onset of Covid-19 the firm’s global skills report gauged the skills of 77 million learners on its platform to benchmark skills in more than 100 countries.

HR and communications skills – which KPMG has identified as the most important for formulating and implementing successful hybrid working strategies – were rated at 13% and 21% respectively.

Finance was the area the UK was most proficient in with a 85% rating. Sales and marketing skills were also relatively highly rated (50% and 58%) but leadership and management, and strategy and operations skills lagged behind (33% and 21%).

“Access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including a path to entry-level digital jobs, will be key to reskilling at scale and accelerating economic recovery in the UK and beyond,” said Jeff Maggioncalda, Coursera’s CEO.

“This report helps governments and employers assess skill gaps in their workforce, identify roles that can be filled with diverse, non-traditional candidates, and details the specific skills that are needed for these roles.”

Other findings from the report centred around the skills and time required for people to prepare for entry-level roles. For example, recent graduates and mid-career changers can develop entry level digital job skills in as little as 35 to 70 hours (or 1-2 months with 10 learning hours per week).

But people without a degree or technology experience are more likely to be job-ready in 80 to 240 hours (or 2-6 months with 10 learning hours per week).

The study asserted that the most transferable skills across all future jobs were in human skills such as problem solving and communication, computer literacy, and career management.

Other rankings for Europe showed that the UK was poorly placed in overall skills: 51st, between Romania and Armenia.

Switzerland, Luxembourg, Germany, Austria and Belgium were the leaders when figures gauging business, technology and data science skills were compiled.

Europe has as a whole excelled in technology and data science skills compared with the rest of the world and the authors considered it to be “in a position of strength” as it entered its post-Covid recovery.

The UK only had a rating of 47th in the technology category, however, sandwiched between Spain and Slovakia. Belarus, the Czech Republic and Hungary were rated highest in this category, with particular impressive scores in web developing and cloud computing.

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