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UK workers want an active role in digital transformation

We’ve heard a lot about how businesses have been affected by the pandemic but how exactly has it changed workers? In their new report, low-code provider Mendix found that employees are eager to learn digital skills, with 59% believing that expanding their digital skills would increase their success in their current role.

The results of Low-Code Forecasts 2021* shows more that 15.5 million British workers are interested in learning digital skills and playing a part in the digital transformation of their organisations. The survey also reveals that a majority of British workers are interested in learning about low-code. These findings highlight how British companies can respond to the UK’s growing digital skills gap driven by COVID and Brexit, and how low-code software development skills can bridge this divide.

Workers want to help with digitalisation
COVID-19 has accelerated the digital transformation of organisations in the UK, with many adopting remote working practises overnight. This has made digital skills a highly-valued commodity for businesses— and UK workers understand this. Close to three-quarters of UK workers surveyed say that they are interested in learning more digital skills (72%), with 60% wanting to put those skills to use by supporting their organisation’s digitalisation. The most common ways that workers see themselves supporting digital transformation is by working with the IT team to make project implementation more successful (45%) and helping the IT team better understand everyday business challenges (37%).

A country that wants to code
The pandemic has also accelerated the need for software development to a pace that organisations are struggling to keep up with. The survey highlights that UK employees are hungry to get involved with their organisations’ software development and are keen to learn new skills, such as creating their own applications.

Almost three quarters (72%) of UK workers want to learn new digital skills and nearly half (49%) would like to build apps that would help them succeed in their work. Despite this interest, only 6% of workers are actually learning software development.

To bridge this gap, British workers are now turning their attention to low-code software development platforms, with two-thirds (66%) stating that they would like to learn model-driven low-code. Motivated by a strong appetite for app development, the large talent pool of 15.5 million potential low-coders within the UK’s full-time workforce would enable businesses to tackle the talent crunch they are facing in light of COVID and Brexit.This trend is impacting three-fifths of British companies according to Mendix’s recent study ‘Navigating the UK landscape: it’s time for a low-code approach’.

This provides a great opportunity for the UK economy, as low-code software development enables those without any coding experience to build applications. Low-code platforms provide companies with a visual, drag-and-drog approach that empowers non-technical staff to design these critical applications, in collaboration with and under the supervision of IT. This allows organisations to quickly deliver digital solutions that immediately support their strategic needs, while enabling the IT department and other divisions to work in a more agile, collaborative manner.

Digital skills key to career development
UK workers also understand the benefit that digital skills will provide to their own career. Almost three in five (59%) UK workers think that an expanded digital skillset would enable them to be more successful in their current role. On top of this, over a quarter see learning new digital skills as necessary to keeping their jobs (26%). This eagerness to learn is seen as important across all age groups, with 90% of respondents stating, “you are never too old to learn new digital skills.”

Nick Ford, VP of product and solutions marketing for Mendix, explains: “The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation, putting a massive strain on IT departments. This research shows that there is a large pool of untapped potential among UK employees that want to contribute to the digitisation of their organisations and help alleviate the pressure on IT.”

He adds: “With low-code, companies can unlock this potential without losing sight of important issues such as security and governance. It provides a single, collaborative platform that enables anyone, regardless of developer background or expertise, to get involved in building business applications. This serves to speed up the entire app development process, spurring innovation while also helping employees build their digital skills by learning from one another.”

This research reinforces other findings, which shows that COVID has caused 64% of IT and business leaders in the UK to invest more in IT and digital technologies for their organisation. The same survey found that 61% of UK business leaders are worried it will be harder to find the talent they need post-Brexit, highlighting the need for organisations to provide their employees with the digital tools they need.

Methodology: The report is based on a survey of 250 full-time workers between the ages of 18 and 64, currently living in the UK, with 53% men and 47% women comprising total responses. The survey was conducted by Reputation Leaders on behalf of Mendix.

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