One in ten Scots 'unable to turn on smartphone or laptop'

Some people struggle with basic tasks such as switching on a computer.
Some people struggle with basic tasks such as switching on a computer.
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Over one in 10 people in Scotland are unable to turn on a smartphone or laptop, while more than half of the workforce lack the essential digital skills for their job, a report has claimed.

The latest Consumer Digital Index from Bank of Scotland found that more than half of employees do not have the minimum level of digital skills, like using digital collaboration tools or managing digital records and files. Meanwhile, 12 per cent of Scots class themselves as "digitally disengaged", meaning that they struggle with basic tasks such as switching on a computer or tablet - slightly higher than the national average.

Workers who have digital skills are paid £12,500 more on average per year than those without. The study of more than one million UK adults found that many people don’t have basic digital understanding of online tasks including – using search engines finding information online, managing money online and keeping safe online.

The data shows that even among those who are tech-savvy, these digital skills are not translating to the workplace. More than three quarters of employees go online to help solve problems in their everyday lives, while only two thirds do this at work.

Philip Grant, chair of Lloyds Banking Group’s Scottish Executive Committee, said: "More people are working digitally, and the skills required are increasingly becoming as important as numeracy and literacy. We need to support workers and ensure they have the right tools to meet the increasing demand for digital skills in the workplace."

Stephen Noakes, managing director of retail transformation at Lloyds Banking Group, said:"Digital skills are becoming just as important as numeracy and literacy for today’s workforce, as workers with these skills are being paid on average £12,500 more."

Outside of the workplace more than one in five Scots lack the full essential digital skills they need, meaning they struggle with tasks like connecting to WIFI, changing settings on a device and opening different applications on a device). One in eight had little or no digital skills and classified themselves as ‘digitally disengaged’, slightly higher than the national average.

The research found one in four residents lack confidence in their digital skills and a further seven per cent of people in Scotland are completely offline – meaning they risk missing out on benefits like better work prospects, improved communication with friends and family and financial savings.

Of those not online, 39 per cent say they find it too complicated to access the internet.

Those defined by the report as ‘digitally disengaged’ may also be at risk of missing out on many of the advantages of being online. People without digital skills are 35 per cent less likely to be saving money, and pay on average up to six per cent more for utilities.