Interest in digital skills paves way for reskilling revolution

techUK, supported by Cisco, releases data from Ipsos MORI which reveals spike in interest in digital skills during lockdown.

New online polling published today by techUK reveals over half of GB online adults aged 16-75 are interested in gaining digital skills with a huge 82% agreeing that ‘Digital skills will become more important in the next 12 months’ paving the way for a reskilling revolution.

Those surveyed want to gain more digital skills over the next twelve months according to research released today by techUK and Ipsos MORI, with support from Cisco. The online surveys were conducted in two waves between 13 - 14 May and again between 10 – 11 June 2020. In this press release only the latest survey data has been reported. In June, techUK’s survey found that 58% agreed with the statement ‘I am interested in gaining more digital skills in the next 12 months.’ This was significantly higher amongst those aged 16-24 (73%) and 25-34 (75%) – the two age groups that have been hardest hit by the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, with unemployment in the younger age group predicted to reach the one million mark by the end of the year.[1]

techUK believes this increasing interest in digital skills is likely to be linked to 78% of respondents believing that businesses will depend more on digital technology in the future, and 82% agreeing that digital skills will become more important in the next 12 months. With the rise in prominence of technology as a critical utility during the pandemic, the public has recognised how pivotal it is to their lives, the economy and their opportunities in the job market.

techUK is calling on the Government to capitalise on momentum and desire from the public to develop their digital skills. The Department for Education’s Skills Toolkit, which launched in May, was a welcome first step towards assisting people in the development of their digital skills.

We now need to build on that to spark a reskilling revolution in the UK, to give every person the opportunity to develop the skills that will open doors to the digitally enabled jobs of today and the future.

Commenting on the findings Jacqueline de Rojas, President of techUK, said:

"The uptake in the use of digital technologies by businesses and individuals alike during the COVID-19 crisis is well documented and our polling has shown that the UK public wants to build the digital skills for the future. These skills will form crucial components in our continued recovery but also as we look to reinvent and build the future we need across the UK.  

“techUK wants to work with Government to spark a reskilling revolution." 

Commenting on the findings David Meads, Chief Executive, Cisco UK & Ireland, said:

“As we look to recover as a nation, technology has the power to accelerate the UK’s digital future, as well as bring strong economic and social benefits. There is a clear appetite across the UK to embrace the opportunity to learn digital skills, as individuals look to build a career for tomorrow. At this time, government, business and industry must provide leadership and guidance to ensure that everyone – regardless of age, background or ethnicity – is included in this digital future.”

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Cisco Networking Academy has collaborated with the Department for Education on The Skills toolkit, a new online learning platform to help boost people’s skills whilst they stay at home. The Cisco Networking Academy, which looks to transform the lives of learners, educators and communities through the power of technology, has seen usage increase by 45% in the UK over the past year, as people strive to safely and securely embrace digital ways of working.”

For the full table of results, please visit:

Survey technical notes:

Research was carried out by Ipsos MORI on behalf of techUK. It surveyed a nationally representative quota sample of 2,190 online adults in Great Britain aged 16-75 across two different waves (1,095 sample on each) using its online I:Omnibus. Wave 1 ran between 13th and 14th May 2020 and wave 2 ran between 10th and 11th June 2020. Data has been weighted to the known offline population proportions for age within gender, government office region, working status and social grade. The design and analysis of the survey was conducted by techUK, with Ipsos MORI responsible for data collection.

[1] 1 million figure is calculated by 416,000 18-24 year olds who are currently employed, aggregated with the 600,000 forecasted to employed by the end of year. Sources below: