Skip to Content

Inadequate digital skills putting young people at risk of missing dream job

11 Feb 2016

British businesses set to fall behind as nearly one in five businesses who employ young people

align=”center”>say they lack the required digital skills

The UK’s young people are very digitally savvy, however, they don’t know how to use their digital skills for work purposes, according to 47% of senior decision makers surveyed in a YouGov online poll commissioned by Capgemini UK, one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The study highlights the growing need for those aged 16-25 to develop a stronger foundation in digital skills – defined as being able to use collaboration and communication tools, design software, as well as understand the cloud and develop apps – as employers place greater value in these capabilities than ever before.

At a time when the health of UK plc is increasingly dependent on a digital economy, the Capgemini study of over 1,000 employers of young people revealed that 84% of interviewees agree digital literacy is important in their place of business. However, a significant 18% believe that not enough young people have the specific digital skills needed for their organisation. This increases to more than one in three (37%) in IT and telecoms, and one in five in media, marketing, advertising, PR & sales (20%).

Of the digital skills listed, the ability to use the internet for work purposes (87%), staying safe online (87%) and creating basic digital content (84%) were identified as the most sought after when recruiting young people. Looking ahead in five years’ time, of those listed, the ability to protect personal and work information ranked the highest (20%), which could be seen as a response to the recent major cyber-attacks.

Alex Smith-Bingham, Head of Digital, Capgemini UK, commented: “Young people have grown up with technology at their fingertips but clearly there is more work to do to develop the digital skills that are required in the workplace. Our research highlights that being adept with social media and consumer technology is simply not enough if the UK is to compete in the global digital economy. While there is a genuine risk that the shortage of digital skills will pull British businesses behind their international counterparts, it can also be seen as an opportunity for all. By supporting the education system in the development of young people and the application of their digital literacy, the business community can ensure that they are all equipped with the best tools and skills possible to develop bright careers; in whatever industry they choose.”

The research into the digital literacy of young people and the impact on UK businesses was developed as part of a new Digital Partnership with The Prince’s Trust, which will see Capgemini deliver a series of programmes teaching 600 of the most disadvantaged young people in the UK the skills necessary to develop a career in today’s digital economy.

Paul Brown, Director at The Prince’s Trust, said: “Many of the young people The Trust supports haven’t had experience of applying digital skills in the workplace and don’t always realise the growing significance of this to employers across a range of sectors. Whether it’s a job in retail, hospitality or even accounting, solid digital literacy is as much a fundamental requisite as traditional academic qualifications. Without it, applicants face missing out on the roles they want, which is why we’re committed to helping young people develop their skills in this area.

“Together with Capgemini, we will help hundreds of young people to succeed in today’s job market, focusing in particular on helping them to develop the specific digital skills that are increasingly sought after by employers across the UK.”

The study covered 13 industry sectors; those that place the greatest value on young people having digital skills in their business include:

  • Media, marketing, advertising, PR & sales (100%)
  • IT & Telecoms (98%)
  • Finance and accounting (92%)
  • Medical (88%)
  • Retail (82%)


Capgemini’s initiatives: developing the skills of future generations

As a key employer in the UK knowledge and technology services economy, Capgemini recognises its responsibility to contribute to the talent and skills of future generations. The organisation is involved in a number of initiatives to help support, nurture and educate the value of digital literacy in young people. These include:

·         In January 2016, Christine Hodgson, Chair of Capgemini UK and the Careers and Enterprise Company, was appointed to lead a major national campaign to encourage businesses and professionals to act as mentors to young teens at risk of dropping out of education or achieving their full potential

·         The Tech Partnership Badge Academy is soon to be made available to all schools by the Tech Partnership, a network of employers, including Capgemini, which works to inspire young people about technology. The Tech Partnership Badge Academy encourages young people to build the tech skills employers value, by working towards open badges: these can be used to demonstrate a young person’s digital credentials to potential employers. Capgemini supports three badges, including ‘Crowdsourcing’, ‘Pitching an App’ and ‘Digital Maker’ (which has been created for young people working with The Prince’s Trust).

·         The Capgemini Schools Programme helps young people gain the skills they need to get ahead. The Programme has three streams: insight events, work experience and support for local and national programmes such as Business in the Community, Inspiring the Future, Behind the Screen and Westminster Council’s Apprentice Club. In 2015 Capgemini had over 5,000 student interactions across over 40 schools, involving over 100 employees.

·         Capgemini has been a trailblazer within the IT industry in the way in which it recruits graduates and apprentices. It was amongst the first organisations to introduce a Degree Apprenticeship programme. During the 2015 -2016 academic year, it has recruited 215 graduates and 93 degree apprentices.


All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc, a research company that conducted the survey on behalf of Capgemini.  Total sample size was 1023 B2B senior decision makers who work in a company which employs young people (aged 16-25 years). Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th November – 10th December 2015. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all B2B senior decision makers.

About Capgemini

With 180,000 people in over 40 countries, Capgemini is one of the world’s foremost providers of consulting, technology and outsourcing services. The Group reported 2014 global revenues of EUR 10.573 billion (about $14 billion USD at 2014 average rate). Together with its clients, Capgemini creates and delivers business, technology and digital solutions that fit their needs, enabling them to achieve innovation and competitiveness. A deeply multicultural organization, Capgemini has developed its own way of working, the Collaborative Business ExperienceTM, and draws on Rightshore®, its worldwide delivery model.

Learn more about us at

Rightshore® is a trademark belonging to Capgemini

About The Prince’s Trust

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust helps disadvantaged young people to get their lives on track. It supports 13 to 30 year-olds who are unemployed and those struggling at school and at risk of exclusion. Many of the young people helped by The Prince’s Trust are in or leaving care, facing issues such as homelessness or mental health problems, or they have been in trouble with the law. The Trust’s programmes give vulnerable young people the practical and financial support needed to stabilise their lives, helping develop self-esteem and skills for work. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training. The Prince of Wales’s charity has helped more than 825,000 young people since 1976 and supports over 100 more each day. Further information about The Prince’s Trust is available at or on 0800 842 842.