Dig­i­tal skills add thou­sands to your earn­ing po­ten­tial in Wales

Western Mail - - BUSINESS - Chris Kelsey As­sis­tant head of busi­ness chris.kelsey@waleson­line.co.uk Edited by Sion Barry 029 2024 3749 sion.barry@waleson­line.co.uk

Hav­ing dig­i­tal skills can add more than £11,500 a year to your earn­ing po­ten­tial in Wales be­cause dig­i­tally skilled work­ers are in such short sup­ply here.

New re­search from Bar­clays re­veals that dig­i­tal skills are so in de­mand in Wales that Welsh em­ploy­ers are will­ing to pay more than most of their coun­ter­parts across the UK for work­ers with word pro­cess­ing, data anal­y­sis and so­cial me­dia ca­pa­bil­i­ties (£11,529 for “expert” skills ver­sus the na­tional av­er­age of £10,000).

The Bar­clays Dig­i­tal De­vel­op­ment In­dex 2017, which an­a­lysed 88,000 UK job ad­verts and 6,000 adults, found al­most a quar­ter (24%) of jobs ad­ver­tised in Wales re­quire ad­vanced dig­i­tal skills such as graphic de­sign, data anal­y­sis or 3D mod­el­ling. This com­pares to a na­tional av­er­age of 15%.

Welsh em­ploy­ers are also will­ing to more for these skills com­pared to most other UK em­ploy­ers.

Across the UK, em­ploy­ers will pay a premium of up to £10,000 a year for dig­i­tal skills in­clud­ing pro­gram­ming and soft­ware de­sign, en­abling work­ers to gen­er­ate £100,000 of wealth in just 10 years. Earn­ings boosts of £3,000 a year are also up for grabs for those with graphic de­sign, data and 3D mod­el­ling skills.

How­ever, em­ploy­ees in Wales score among the low­est of all UK re­gions for their dig­i­tal skills. Wales ranks in 10th place over­all – above just the East of Eng­land and the South-East for dig­i­tal skills. Welsh re­spon­dents score only 5.28 out of 10 in a test of dig­i­tal skills com­mis­sioned for The In­dex.

Also, while one in five in­di­vid­u­als (20%) in Wales are aware of lo­cal dig­i­tal train­ing be­ing avail­able, only 4% have taken ac­tion and made use of this.

Dig­i­tal skills across the UK are not keep­ing pace with de­mand. The Bar­clays In­dex finds that 63% of UK jobs re­quire dig­i­tal skills such as word pro­cess­ing, data­base spread­sheet or so­cial me­dia man­age­ment skills, but only 57% of the work­force have these ca­pa­bil­i­ties.

This mis­match will worsen as dig­i­tal skills be­come even more vi­tal to Bri­tish busi­nesses.

And although they have up to 30 years left in their work­ing lives, it seems Gen­er­a­tion X (35 to 54-yearolds) are be­ing left be­hind. Those aged 35-44 are 11% less likely than their millennial col­leagues to say they are con­fi­dent about their dig­i­tal skills.

Gen­er­a­tion X work­ers are also more wor­ried about their abil­ity to keep their dig­i­tal skills up-to-date – 21.5% have con­fi­dence in their abil­ity to do so, ver­sus 28% for mil­len­ni­als.

Ed­u­ca­tion also boosts dig­i­tal scores. Grad­u­ates with a Mas­ters de­gree score 35% higher than those who leave school with­out any qual­i­fi­ca­tions. And those in man­age­ment po­si­tions score far bet­ter in the tests than those in ju­nior po­si­tions, and 20% above the UK av­er­age.

Kath My­ers, Bar­clays Com­mu­nity Bank­ing man­ag­ing di­rec­tor for Wales, said: “Peo­ple’s level of dig­i­tal prow­ess is fast be­com­ing a key de­ter­mi­nant of their earn­ing power, yet the UK to­day is a patch­work of dig­i­tal skills.

“Where you live, how old you are, what you do and your ed­u­ca­tion level have an im­pact on your dig­i­tal abil­i­ties and con­fi­dence.

“Dig­i­tal skills can pro­vide a vi­tal boost to house­hold fi­nances and ev­ery­one de­serves the op­por­tu­nity to ben­e­fit from this.

Ms My­ers added: “At a time when wage growth is so im­por­tant to fam­i­lies in Wales, we must act fast to im­prove our home­grown dig­i­tal skills if Wales is to com­pete in the global dig­i­tal econ­omy post-Brexit.”

Do­minic Lip­in­ski

> Poss­esing in-de­mand dig­i­tal skills can sig­nif­i­cantly boost your earn­ing po­ten­tial in Wales

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