Over a third (36%) of British SME decision-makers believe that technology and innovation have created fewer opportunities for unskilled workers to “learn on the job” and progress to higher-paid roles.
A YouGov poll, conducted on behalf of ACS International Schools and IBSCA UK and Ireland, surveyed British small and medium enterprises (SMEs) which, in 2022, accounted for 99% of UK businesses.
To gain a greater understanding of perspectives, qualitative research was also undertaken among representatives from companies including the Royal College of Arts, Amazon Web Services, and Pepsi Lipton.
The data shows that technology is playing a big role in modern workplaces – nearly a third (29%) of SME bosses reveal they feel the post-Covid impacts of innovation and technology have created greater inequality within their teams.
Senior decision-makers were asked where they believe technical responsibilities lie. Over half (58%) believe that everyone, including the leadership team, needs to understand and be able to use the technology that is core to their organisation.
Nearly three-quarters (73%) of SME bosses agree that everyone needs basic IT skills such as Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and email to function in the workplace, and 60% expect new recruits, especially entry-level candidates, to have these core IT skills.
Richard Markham, chief executive of IBSCA UK and Ireland, added: “Educational assessments do not measure what young people actually know; examinations need to go beyond knowledge recall and assess transferable understanding and applied skills."