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Report: The Hidden Middle: Unlocking the Essential Digital Skills Opportunity (futuredotnow 2021)

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This report explores a number of factors that could be enhanced through increased essential digital skills, including the ability to:

  • adopt and benefit from digital transformation
  • help people grow and adapt while fostering a positive workplace culture
  • help organisations adapt to disruption and build resilience
  • demonstrate a strong purpose and brand.

Getting everyone up to the digital start line, equipped with the essential digital skills for work, and addressing the hidden middle is not an impossible problem to crack. This report defines a set of actions that businesses can take to get started.

Published: 06/2021

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There remains a digital skills crisis in the UK, and at the heart of it is a ‘hidden middle’ between digital exclusion and advanced digital skills. That hidden middle comprises around half the UK’s workforce. Upskilling this “hidden middle” must be a critical part of the UK’s skills strategy

Sir Peter Estlin, FutureDotNow Chair

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The hidden middle is the circa 17.1m people in the workforce that don't have the ‘essential digital skills for work’. 17.1m represents 52% of the UK workforce, such a large number it is hard to believe it is true. It is easy to assume that everyone is keeping up with technology and able to pick up the digital basics. But the numbers indicate this is not the case.

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