Digital talent shortages continue to impede UK SME growth

A recent UK SME survey found that 29% of those surveyed said the ongoing shortage of skilled workers poses a high or very high risk for their business – so much so that their digital modernisation ambitions have stalled, due to a lack of job-ready digital talent.

Most SMEs are desperate for talent with a range of digital skills, and this need continues to grow, as does the skillsets that are desirable. The government has recognised this demand thanks to industry bodies’ ongoing lobbying and has just expanded the portfolio of Skills Bootcamps accordingly.

So, the Data & Marketing Association (DMA UK) can announce a new Data Strategy, Analytics and Measurement for Digital Marketing Skills Bootcamps, funded by the Department for Education (DfE) through its Skills for Life Programme.

Data-driven marketing insights are essential for developing more meaningful relationships with customers, which leads to sustainable business growth. These data-focused Skills Bootcamps will help SMEs, with limited training budgets, to understand and engage with their customers better – SME employers will need to contribute just 10% of the fee and 90% will be government funded.

“This is a great opportunity for the SME community, as this type of government-funded training will help them to better understand, acquire and analyse their customers’ data insights, which is vital for enhanced customer engagement and retention. It is important that the government has listened to our industry’s advice, as digital talent shortages continue to impede UK SME growth – so government-funded skills support remains essential,” said Kate Burnett, General Manager of DMA Talent.

These new skills bootcamps, launching in London and Leeds in October 2023, are open to everyone within a business – not just talent with a marketing or digital background.

Burnett added: “The great thing about our Skills Bootcamps is that they are available and relevant to everyone within a SME – whether that be the owner trying to deliver meaningful growth for their business or a multi-tasking employee looking to better understand why data is an organisation’s greatest asset. A short-term investment of their precious time will lead to long-term results for the business.”

All the DMA’s Skills Bootcamps are available to larger organisations but there is a different contribution required.

Trade associations inspire upskilling across the UK

The Skills for Life funding from the DfE supports the DMA’s ongoing campaign, launched in July 2022, to create a professionalised industry with a culture of continuous, structured learning at its core. Since then, a small sample of DMA Members successfully built regular, bitesize learning into their marketing teams’ learning models, for a minimum of an hour per week, to show how micro-upskilling as an additional learning method can help the industry achieve this goal.

“We believe trade and professional bodies are best placed to spearhead these types of initiatives and training programmes with our strong industry connections and understanding of the skills that employers require most,” concluded Burnett.

Further information about these Skills Bootcamps can be found on the DMA website.