SME growth plans in 2023: fight the digital gap and find skilled talents

Posted 6/4/2023 by Arianna Adamo




It is not surprising that a majority of SMEs in the UK view digitalisation as important for the future of their business. Digitalisation can help businesses streamline their operations, improve customer experiences, and reach new markets. However, it is concerning that many SMEs feel constrained from implementing digitalisation due to a shortage of digital talent.


Web hosting company IONOS, in partnership with YouGov, polled 1,004 UK SMEs to ask whether they view digitalisation – defined as the transformation of a business model towards using mainly computer processes – as a priority.


It found that 79% of small business owners in the UK consider the adoption of new technologies to be critical for future growth, but 29% of those polled said the ongoing shortage of skilled workers poses a high or very high risk for their business.


The shortage of digital talent is a widespread issue across many industries, and it can be particularly challenging for smaller businesses that may not have the resources to attract and retain top digital talent. However, there are steps that SMEs can take to address this issue, such as investing in training and development programs for existing staff, partnering with educational institutions to recruit new talent, or outsourcing digital work to third-party providers.


It is essential for small business owners to prioritize digitalisation and make the necessary investments to ensure that they are not left behind in an increasingly digital world. As the experts have noted, doubling down on digitalisation can help SMEs take full advantage of the potential benefits and position themselves for future success.


These the major barriers to digitalisation effort found out by the survey:


  • Cost (45%)
  • Lack of time (45%)
  • Poor tech know-how (31%)
  • Lack of interest (21%)
  • Uncertainty around security and data protection (24%)


To address the digital skills gap, SMEs can take several steps, including:


  1. Investing in training and development programs for existing employees to upskill and reskill them in digital technologies.


  1. Partnering with educational institutions to source new talent with the necessary digital skills.


  1. Collaborating with other businesses or industry associations to share knowledge and best practices.


  1. Outsourcing certain digital tasks to third-party providers or freelancers with specialized expertise.


  1. Creating a culture of continuous learning and innovation to encourage employees to stay up-to-date with the latest digital trends and tools.




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