UK businesses falling behind on digitalisation plans

When it comes to UK companies and their Covid-19-powered digital transformation plans, the mantra seems to be “slow and steady wins the race”.

According to a new report from ManpowerGroup, UK organizations aren’t as quick to transform as peers elsewhere around the world, but fewer have had to put their plans on hold, and more are planning to bring in additional staff.

Polling more than 26,000 employees all over the world, including 1,000 in the UK, the company found that almost a quarter (23 percent) of UK businesses are accelerating their digital transformation plans as a direct result of the Covid-19 pandemic, compared to 38 percent globally.

At the same time, just 14 percent placed their plans on hold, versus 17 percent worldwide. Also, when it comes to hiring, more than four fifths (84 percent) plan to at least maintain, if not expand, their headcount.

Businesses in the Product and Manufacturing industry seem to be most interested in hiring additional staff, with almost two thirds (64 percent) intending to expand their headcount as a result of digital transformation.

In terms of company size, large organizations are most likely to speed up their digital transformation efforts as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“The UK, like the rest of the world, is experiencing a two-speed, K-shaped, recovery. With some sectors able to bounce back, and adapt at speed while others risk lagging behind,” said Chris Gray, Director at ManpowerGroup UK.

“The trends we have seen in recent years – the call for more flexibility, more of a work-life blend, upskilling & autonomy over roles – have sped up in the space of a year as a result of the pandemic. And, the workforce has transformed in a relatively short period of time thanks to greater use of technology – employers need to catch up. Our data shows that those industries which are digitizing and adapting to the health crisis are hiring, and will be attracting the best talent, while other sectors run the risk of falling behind the curve.”

Gray believes that upskilling and reskilling people into growing industries is the best way to tackle current workforce displacement.

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