Digital economy needs 750,000 workers by 2017 or risks losing £2bn a year

Failure to find talent in the digital economy can cost the UK economy £2bn a year, a study by O2 has found.

The mobile phone giant found that the UK needs 750,000 digitally-skilled workers by 2017 if it wants to take advantage of a £12bn economic opportunity that the sector provides.

The research suggests that 20% of the 750,000 possible vacancies would be entry-level jobs, suitable for people entering the world of work for the first time.

Ronan Dunne, chief executive of O2, said: “Now more than ever before, digital offers the chance to drive sustained economic recovery, but this will only be realised if we become a nation of digitally confident businesses with a digitally literate workforce.

“Businesses must proactively seek out opportunities to collaborate to maximise the digital growth opportunity and harness the potential of the next generation. As digital natives, young people possess valuable skills that will be the future fuel of our economy, but not enough is being done to harness them,” he added.  

Dunne’s comments came at the opening of Campus Party Europe, one of the world’s biggest technology festivals. The week-long festival at The O2 is expected to be attended by up to 60,000 young people.

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