A fifth of people in the UK do not have basic digital skills, such as sending emails, uploading a CV or shopping online, a report has claimed.
The study found that those who are unemployed are almost three times as likely to be without basic digital skills as the rest of the population, while those who can use a computer successfully are likely to earn £13,000 more than the one in ten of the working age population who can not.
Basic digital skills are classfied as being able to research information online, communicate with others, carry out transactions such as online banking or shopping, solving problems and creating content.
The report, by Lloyds Bank, found that a quarter of people with a disability – totalling 3.5 million UK-wide – are offline and are four times more likely to be so than the rest of the UK. A total of 28 per cent of those over the age of 60 do not use the internet, while 700,000 11 to 18-year-olds have no home internet access from a computer or tablet.
As well as economic benefits, the report found that people say they feel less lonely due to digital and for one in three of people aged over 60 years old, digital skills help them to manage and improve their health.
Digital jobs are growing at twice the rate of other jobs, leaving people who do not have the ability to use technology, unable to apply for many potential career opportunities. Just 11 per cent of people surveyed said they receive digital skills training in the workplace.
Nick Williams, transformation managing director at Lloyds Banking Group said: “The UK is a booming technology hub and so it is disappointing to see that those who are unemployed are three times as likely to be without basic digital skills.
“Without concerted effort the UK will be on the verge of a digital skills crisis – businesses and government must actively work together to reduce the threat of digital exclusion.
“Focused intervention is now needed to ensure all UK citizens have the opportunity to access essential digital skills training.
“That is why we have committed, as part of our Helping Britain Prosper Plan, to provide face-to-face digital skills training for a further 1.8 million individuals, small businesses and charities by 2020.”
Although the proportion of people who are lacking in digital skills has remained the same since last year, the study found that 60 per cent of UK adults have improved their existing digital capability since the last report.
Of those who have improved their digital skills in the last year, around one in three say the biggest driver was to improve performance and productivity at work. The criteria for basic digital skills was defined by technology think tank Doteveryone.