Invest in your people: how training will help your organisation win the battle for talent

Invest in your people: how training will help your organisation win the battle for talent


Alison Bawn

Alison Bawn

People Director

Virgin Media O2 Business


4 minutes

07th September 2022

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Ways of working have evolved.


At Virgin Media O2 Business, we’ve seen first-hand how employee expectations have transformed as people place greater emphasis on a healthier work/life balance. And how the very way we communicate and interact with each other in our daily work lives has also changed, both within our own organisation and outside, as people choose where, when, and how they work together.


None of these changes would be possible without technology and connectivity. From online consultations to help patients see medical professionals remotely, to Augmented Reality and drone tech improving on-site safety and efficiency, these factors form the very foundation of the exciting and innovative moments we’ve seen across the UK.


Which means digital skills are now more essential than ever before. So much so that Elizabeth Anderson, COO of the Digital Poverty Alliance, says the charity’s data shows 82% of jobs in the UK now require digital skills.


The question is — do 82% of the UK workforce have the digital skills to fill these jobs?

The UK has a clear skills gap

The answer is ‘not yet’. Our recent survey with Census wide found that 55% of employees surveyed, across sectors and size of business, agree their organisation has a shortage of skills when it comes to technology. And 83% of those say they’re concerned about the impact this could have on their organisation.


In short, we’re seeing is a gap between the digital skills needed to work in the modern world and the digital skills currently available within the workforce.


This skill's shortage has coincided with the ‘Great Reshuffle’, where people across the country moved roles in search of working conditions that better suited their responsibilities and lifestyles. It’s a moment that has seen many employees leave organisations, either to find employment elsewhere, or retiring altogether and taking these skills with them. Leaving organisations in a battle for talent to attract replacements with the right skills.


So where do these skills now need to come from? The onus is on private and public sector organisations to upskill existing workers to ensure the UK doesn’t fall behind.


According to new research from Microsoft, investment in people is going to be essential for the UK economy. 80% of UK business leaders stated they believe investment in digital skills will be important to the country’s economic recovery following the pandemic.


It will also make employees happier in their roles. Our own research found 42% of employees would be more likely to stay in their current job if their employers provided more regular, intensive training on the use of digital technology.


So, not only is this about upskilling individuals to empower them with greater confidence in their roles – it’s also about ensuring the future prosperity of our economy.

Forming alliances – where skills are born

Technology and connectivity might underpin most of the great innovations we’ve seen over the past few years, but these advances are nothing without the people who use them. The more skilled a talent pool the UK has to draw from, the more likely we are to overcome challenges and collectively create a more positive future. Already, the government is acting to upskill people. Take the Lancashire Skills and Employment Hub, which has announced that phase three of its successful Skills Boot camps, developed in collaboration with local employers and training providers, is now open for applications.


The flexible 16-week courses cover those skills which are in most demand by the county’s businesses. They include digital marketing, cybersecurity, software engineering and coding, data analytics, digital project management and ElecTech (electronic engineering including sensors, hardware cybersecurity and power electronics).


Or the West Midlands Combined Authority (WMCA) digital boot camps, free of charge for learners and aimed at equipping the residents of West Midlands with digital skills. It supports those who are unemployed, seeking a change in the career, and employees looking to gain the required digital skills to secure a promotion in their current job. The WMCA recently also announced a partnership with Microsoft to bring even more investment and training to the area.


And it’s in partnership that digital skills can thrive best – partnership between public and private sector organisations, where the benefits of digital upskilling won’t just be felt by organisations but by society as a whole. Because by plugging the digital skills gap, we won’t just be filling empty roles. We’ll also be opening up opportunities for those who might previously have been digitally excluded.

Short term cost, long term gain

At Virgin Media O2 Business, we wanted to learn more about the role of technology in the battle for talent. We also wanted to find out how technology is supporting employee happiness in the workplace, and where more might need to be done.


In our latest research report into the battle for talent, we’ve uncovered current employee attitudes, reservations, and wishes around technology and skills in the workplace – vital insights which organisations can use to create an environment in which they can attract, retain, and empower talent.


We found employees expect more. More investment in technology, in upskilling, and more time invested in listening to their feedback.


You can find out more by downloading the report here.


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