- 14 March 2023
- by Andrej Fedek
- Business, Resources & Tips
- 0 Comments
Digital technology is transforming the lives and the economies of societies worldwide. For decades, the UK has been a global centre for scientific research and technological innovation. Emerging digital technologies create an opportunity for the United Kingdom to become the world’s Global Science and Technology Superpower.
New public policies are needed to help the nation adapt to the rising importance of digital technology. Many major opportunities for growth and development could be missed when the UK needs it most if new policies aren’t developed. With the right frameworks in place, the United Kingdom could ride the wave of digital disruption to new economic heights and become the scientific superpower it aims to be within the next decade.
Digital Skills And New Demands In Education
Modern companies will require workers with digital skills. Many roles in business require data analysis skills, critical thinking and reasoning, and social media experience. The workforce of the future needs a digital education that gives them a knowledge base of these and other skills for employers to build upon.
Well-designed public policies, complete with in-depth public policy analysis, are required to ensure high-quality training programs and educational resources are available to develop workers further. The London School of Economics and Political Science has a relevant course that will be of use to anyone who wishes to learn more about public policy analysis and learn key skills such as how to turn ideas into policies that could benefit others. There will be a huge disruption in the job market, and the opportunity to learn and develop new digital skills needs to be there to support people who have lost their jobs.
Without that support, new employers in new industries will not have a digitally-literate workforce to draw upon. This will stifle growth and the job market’s recovery from any disruption. Public policy needs to shift now to encourage young people in education and people in the job market to develop digital skills in data analysis, coding, robotics, and software engineering.
There are digital solutions to these problems on the horizon. The workforce of the future will need to be flexible and tailor their skills to suit emerging occupations. New technologies like search algorithms can create an accurate real-time picture of the labour market and forecast demand. This can help employers, workers, and recruitment staff to fill job roles quickly and efficiently by matching the right worker to the right job. Training and development can also happen online, preparing workers for new job openings in these emerging occupations.
Regulation And Competition In The Digital Era
One of the key areas of public policy in any industrial-scale change is regulation. There will always be huge changes in commerce and new job markets will continue to appear. This will require intervention from the government at some point. This should have a measured and careful approach to prevent stymieing the growth and expansion of the digital economy.
In any technology-focused sector, it is easy for one company to rise suddenly and monopolise the market. Microsoft is an excellent example of this from the early-80s. The popularity of its operating system and the licensing deals the company made created a huge corporation almost overnight. Their dominance of the operating system market led to countless lawsuits and government hearings. The company squeezed out its competition and began using its power to act as a gatekeeper to the smaller software firms.
The public sector will have to develop and implement new technologies and regulatory frameworks to prevent new monopolies from growing in the digital space. Public administrations need to be aware of changing digital trends and use emerging technology to assist them in making policy decisions by using data analysis and algorithms to predict trends. Though conventional means can be used to regulate business and technology in the physical world, new digital tools will have to be developed to allow regulation in online and digital spaces.
Patent processes and protections also need to be evolved to foster innovation and create stronger intellectual property rights for both software and hardware. The advancements in Artificial Intelligence and algorithmic learning are already pushing the boundaries of what is patentable. Just as public policy needs to intervene to protect workers and markets, public policy needs to protect innovation too.
Different Challenges For Different Demographics
Digital innovation will have a huge effect on workforces and employers. The early signs are already there, and they are having both positive and negative impacts on the job market and the economy. New digitally focused businesses are growing rapidly, expanding to fill an infinite online space.
There is plenty of opportunity for businesses to embrace digital innovation. This is true in retail and hospitality as well as health and social care. Workers within these industries should be trained in the newest tech so that they can be as productive as possible. Digital innovation has also changed the way some workers work. University leavers and college-aged workers are taking their naturally developed digital skills to jobs that offer working-from-home benefits. Some are freelancing multiple roles in the digital space to generate a regular income.
Workers with traditional skills should look to upskill. Institutions and governments need to invest in retraining and in adult learning resources to ensure equality in the job market. Training and education will be key to maintaining a low-unemployment rate. Upskilling and embracing innovation has the power to level the playing field for workforces across the world, and policy and funding need to change now to prepare the country for the near future.
The technology emerging today has the potential to address the imbalances of globalisation for workers in developed nations. Just as many manufacturing and telephonic customer service jobs left the developed world in the late-90s and early-2000s, this decade could see digitally-focused jobs go global. Many of these online customer service roles have already returned to native shores, with the savings of a work-from-home workforce helping to bring jobs back from overseas.
Making The UK A Digital Economy
The United Kingdom has always been a great place to invest in emerging industries. Since the early days of the first industrial revolution, the UK has been at the forefront of trade and technology. Today the UK has an educated and experienced world-class research base that can bring the best ideas in the world to our shores. The United Kingdom has the potential to become an incubator for emerging technologies and digitally-focused businesses from every corner of the planet.
The UK has many advantages already in the global digital marketplace. It has a robust and reliable super-fast broadband network with a high level of coverage throughout its constituent nations. The Universities of the UK lead the world in computer sciences, engineering, and applied mathematics. This creates a highly educated knowledge base for businesses to tap into so they can develop their products and services.
Digital technology could have the potential to grow the UK economy by over £400 billion before 2030, and double the value of the manufacturing sector. With the right public policies to foster investment and innovation, this digitally fuelled economic growth could be vital in helping the UK economy and the job market recover from the global pandemic. Investing in digital infrastructure and business development now could secure a booming economy for the UK’s near future.
It seems imperative that UK policymakers, government, and industry leaders work together to shape a new digital economy that will become the natural home for digital innovation and investment. The disruption that the digital era brings to economies and job markets presents an opportunity if the UK can get ahead of the trend, and build upon its existing digital infrastructure now.
Andrej Fedek is a digital marketer. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called InterCool Studio. His passion is to help startups grow and thrive in a competitive environment.