A quarter of young people are not confident they have the digital skills needed to secure a job in the growing tech industry.
Although 44% of women and 40% of men aged 16-21 rate their digital skills as good, their confidence slips when it comes to applying for in-demand technology jobs, according to professional services firm Accenture.
Asked about their career aspirations as they leave education, only 20% of young women and 29% of young men feel they could secure a tech role with the skills they have.
This is despite 42% of 1,000 people surveyed believing there will be more jobs in technology because of the pandemic.
This generation’s lack of confidence in their abilities could risk further skills shortages in the tech sector, suggested Shaheen Sayed, Accenture’s technology lead in the UK and Ireland.
“If the digital native generation is not turning to technology as a career option, then we have a huge pipeline problem for the technology profession. Young people know technology is completely redefining the world right now – but their lack of confidence in securing a tech job indicates a worrying disconnect between young people, particularly girls, and a changing jobs market,” said Sayed.
“Tech talent will be needed in all industries, not just in start-ups, and we cannot afford a digital skills deficit. To help dismantle barriers, employers must nurture tech talent from all backgrounds and recruit from a range of disciplines, including the humanities and arts, as well as STEM subjects. The convergence of these disciplines is still underplayed in how we talk about technology and its application.”
Sayed urged employers to form relationships with schools, colleges and universities to help develop “industry-engaged curriculums” that allow young people become “job ready” by the time they leave education.
Young people’s confidence in their digital skills varies by region. Although 52% of those in the South East are confident in their abilities, only 37% in Scotland and 38% in the North East of England say the same.
Asked about securing a tech job after the pandemic, respondents in Northern Ireland are the most confident (35%), while those in Scotland are the least (16%).