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UK Youth Optimistic About Tech Careers Despite Digital Skills Gap

UK Youth Optimistic About Tech Careers Despite Digital Skills Gap

Polling of 2070 UK adults was undertaken by Yonder from 17th to 18th January 2024, giving an overview of the UK’s digital skills market and opinions on job and career prospects with 18 – 24-year-olds saying the below:

  • 40% of young people are looking to switch careers in 2024
  • Almost 1/3 (31%) of those at the start of their careers say they’d like to work in tech.
  • Almost six in ten (57%) believe if they had a good level of digital skills, they’d be able to earn a good wage (this is higher than the national average of 31%)
  • 30% believe the tech industry is representative of the UK population as a whole (compared to just 21% overall
  • 57% say they have a good level of digital skills
  • 33% believe the biggest barrier to not improving their skills is a lack of time
  • 24% can name a female tech leader (compared to 10% overall)
  • 40% think improving their digital skills would be expensive
  • 42% believe you need to complete an undergraduate or a master’s degree to work in tech (compared to 23% overall)

Institute of Coding overview

The Institute of Coding (IoC), led by the University of Bath, is a collaborative national consortium of industry, educators and outreach providers working together to respond to the UK’s digital skills gap through the delivery of employer-led digital skills education. It offers free short courses to those from hard-to-reach backgrounds, including data marketing, cyber security, and data programming. Through this collaborative approach, IoC partners have supported more than one million learners to boost their skills and career goals. The Institute of Coding is working to make digital careers open to all, breaking down barriers to digital learning and employment, and spreading learning opportunities to enable everyone, whatever their background, to improve their skills.

Rachid Hourizi, Directory for the Institute of Coding says,

National Careers Week is the perfect opportunity for young people to take stock of where they are in their career path and what skills may be needed to increase their employability. Studies have shown that around 80% of jobs now require digital skills and in today’s increasingly digital-led economy, having a certain level of tech skills is almost a requirement. Tech-based skills are valued incredibly highly by employers, and this translates into increased remuneration packages.  

“At the Institute of Coding, we have a range of courses on offer to help a larger and more diverse group of learners into digital careers, including those who are starting in their careers. Recent polling we ran showed that only half the population have confidence in their digital skills and at the IoC, we’re here to help those who want to increase their confidence and gain new skills. The breadth – and depth – of courses that we run, and the support that we offer, will equip anybody with the skills needed to forge ahead with a career in the industry, leading young people onto apprenticeships and full-time employment.”


Rachid Horizi is the Director of the Institute of Coding. Rachid leads a national Institute announced by the Prime Minister in January 2018. He has broad experience leading the teaching of coding, digital skills and entrepreneurship within the University of Bath, Department of Computer Science at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. He also led efforts to have the Bath placement scheme professionally certified (the first such certification in the country) and to launch a digital Degree apprenticeship provision at the university.

Crystal, a London resident who took part in the Be the Business programme, said:

“I participated in Click Start where I learned great digital skills, like automation techniques and inbound marketing, while building on my confidence in presenting and socialising! At first, it was to build on Excel skills for work as I was looking into finance roles, but I gained knowledge in many areas like how to effectively answer interview questions etc. to be where I am now.

“As a result, I’m now in a finance position in a great firm and continue to learn new things. I thank the Click Start team, and everyone who guided us!”

Molly Smailova

Molly lives in Durham with her three young children and completed her Click Start TechUPWomen programme shortly before giving birth. The flexibility of the course gave her the time she needed to balance caring for her young children and upskilling for her next career in digital.

She previously worked in the recruitment industry and noticed how well some tech careers she was seeking staff for were paying. This spurred her interest in becoming one of those people, in the hope of providing for her children. The programme gave her the confidence boost she needed to apply for jobs in digital and is hoping to embark on a career in data analysis in the North East.

Molly was the one-millionth learner to complete an Institute of Coding programme in August 2023 and her landmark achievement was widely celebrated.

Zunaira Rafique

Zuniara lives in Bristol, is 28 years old and took part in Bath Spa University’s Click Start digital skills booster programme in the summer of 2023. She has a background in teaching and wanted to develop her technological skills with the hope of building her own business.

As a young Muslim woman living in Bristol with English as her second language, she felt unsure of how to gain the confidence to start her own business and was cautious that she had only limited experience with using computers.

Zuniara’s digital confidence has been boosted by her experiences on the Click Start programme and she has ambitions to use these insights to start her own business providing tailored clothing for young people in her community, citing a current lack of options in her local area, and the need to travel some distance to Birmingham.

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