Digital skills crucial to SME success, says FSB

11 December, 2017

A new study carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests that almost a quarter (22 per cent) of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are suffering from a so-called ‘digital skills shortage’.

In recent days, the organisation has called on the Government to tackle the ongoing problem, amid concerns that a lack of such skills can have a negative impact on productivity.

The FSB has suggested that digital skills fit for the modern age are essential to business success, and that SMEs need to take advantage of the internet and social media in order to build a steady web presence, which will help them to attract new clients and customers.

However, citing its own research, it has said that more than a quarter of British SME owners and decision makers ‘lack confidence’ when it comes to digital skills – while a similar number feel that a lack of such skills is holding them back from embracing the opportunities of the digital age.

Following these findings, the FSB has called on the Government to revamp its National Retraining scheme with small businesses in mind.

The long-running scheme, which currently seeks to help job-hunters to retrain for new professions, needs to be more SME-friendly and therefore may require a complete overhaul, the FSB has suggested.

Mike Cherry, Chairman of the FSB, 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,” he said.