Workers 'up-skill' to keep pace with the digital world

27th June 2016 | News

Increasing numbers of Britons are turning to the Internet in order to expand their professional skill set and to help themselves thrive in today’s connected digital industry.  According to new data from HitWise, over 4.1 million Britons searched ‘how to’ queries within the first quarter of 2016.

British workers are using the Internet more to try and increase their knowledge, with over 1.3 million workers visiting online learning sites (such as FutureLearn) during Q1 2016.  HitWise revealed a substantial gap between digital natives (aged between 18 and 34) and the generation above: digital migrants, who did not grow up with the Internet.

The statistics revealed the digital natives were 3.9 times more likely to search for ‘code’ or ‘coding’ when exploring online courses. They were also far more likely to look at opportunities for social media business promotion, with 30 per cent searching the term ‘how to use social media for business’.

Digital natives also accounted for over half of all the UK’s visits to online educational websites, even though they only actually account for a third of the UK’s population.

Those over the age of 34 still use the web, but do so more frequently in order to try and support entrepreneurial work.  For instance, digital migrants are 135 per cent more likely to search for a term like ‘how to be self-employed’ and 100 per cent more likely to search for terms like ‘how to write a business plan’.

Nigel Wilson, managing director, HitWise, said: “This trend supports the UK population’s desire to educate themselves in order to support their work life, be that for employment or entrepreneurial ventures.

“The sheer pace of digitalisation within the UK workforce means young people are required to learn with an almost ‘immediate effect’.  We continue to see year-on-year growth with sites such as YouTube (displaying video tutorials) and online learning sites such as FutureLearn and Udemy. 

“With London Tech Week this week, there are likely to be many discussions around the evolution of technology, its endless possibilities, but also the mounting pressure it demands Brits of all ages to adapt and prepare to ‘up-skill’. It is now a necessity if they want to remain relevant.”