A new report by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has uncovered evidence of a digital skills gap within small businesses that it says must be tackled to avoid small firms being left behind.
The research found that more than a quarter (26%) of business owners in England lack confidence in their basic digital skills and more than a fifth (22%) believe a lack of basic digital skills among their staff is holding them back from increasing their digital and online presence. However, a quarter (25%) of small firms said they do not consider digital skills to be important to the growth of their business.
FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, who also owns a family-run small business in Burton-on-Trent, said: “We need to highlight the benefits of going digital and then make sure that small businesses and their staff can access basic digital skills training that meets their needs through initiatives like the National Retraining Scheme. If we can harness the digital potential of small firms, we stand a real chance of creating more world-beating businesses and boosting growth.”
The FSB believes that a strategic approach to training is essential to support small business growth aspirations. The organisation says it is vital that small businesses know where to turn for help.
Small firms have told the FSB that the main barriers to training are the fact that their staff are too busy (25%), training is too expensive (21%) or the type of training desired is not available locally (16%).
The full FSB report, called Learning The Ropes, is available here.