While 39% of Brazilians think they could build a website, only 16% of British workers feel the same, according to a new global survey looking at digital skills in the workplace.
The poll, conducted by Barclays, found that UK employers are failing to train their staff up to the level of digital skills they require to do their jobs.
The shortage of digital skills is costing the UK around £63bn a year in lost economic activity. The online poll of 10,000 people indicated that for vocational skills Britain came seventh out of 10 countries. There were 38% of UK workers who said their employer offered training compared to 48% in the US and 67% in India.
Barclays chief executive Ashok Vaswani, self-taught in coding, said the UK was fourth out of 10 countries for its support of digital knowledge.
“Clearly the government has done a lot to put the basic building blocks in place,” he said, but added that more could be done.
“As the UK considers its future outside the European Union, we have to remember that the race to become the most digitally savvy economy is global and not confined to Europe.”
According to a report by the science and technology committee, an estimate of 5.8m people in Britain have never used the internet.
The 16% of the poll’s UK respondents felt “very comfortable” building a website whereas in Brazil the figure was at 39%. According to researchers the greater confidence came from the younger workforce.
Barclays are pushing to provide more digital services through offering help to customers struggling to use their tablets and are launching 12 pilot Eagle labs this year to allow businesses access to 3D printers and other technologies.
Vaswani declined to say whether this focus on online traffic would lead to the closure of some of their traditional branches on the high street. The bank has however found new roles for the branches to keep them in operation. Barclays run eight small sites in Asda supermarkets and have initiated a “click and collect” pilot with Amazon to enable customers to pick up their purchases from lockers in six of their branches.
“If you think about the bankers of old, they were at the centre of the community, and they were respected. [These pilots] are about creating that in the digital world,” said Vaswani.