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FutureDotNow

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FutureDotNow

says that millions of UK workers lack digital workplace skills.

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As the UK’s digital skills crisis grows, FutureDotNow, a business coalition, says that businesses must offer the necessary workplace skills that people require

Clare McDonald

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Published: 01 Jun 2022 9: 42

Updating privacy settings, updating security systems and accessing digital payslips are among the essential workplace digital skills that millions in the UK don’t have, according to FutureDotNow.

In partnership with PwC and Lloyds Banking Group, the FutureDotNow report Unpacking the hidden middle looked into data from several sources, as well as the 17 digital tasks deemed essential for work in Lloyds Bank’s Essential digital skills report 2021 to determine the level of the UK’s digital skills gap.

The report – which focused on 30.3 million people in the UK’s working population who have at least a foundational level of digital skill – found that despite 5.6 million of these workers having developed their digital skills during pandemic lockdowns, about 11.8 million are unable to complete at least one of Lloyds’ Essential Digital Skills for Work.

Liz Williams, CEO of FutureDotNow, said: “The gap in basic digital capability in the UK workforce is real and huge. FutureDotNow’s new report revealed that almost two-thirds of UK workers would benefit from learning basic digital skills. This includes people at all levels, from the top to the shop floor.

“But insight is just the first step to action, and businesses do need to act. People need opportunities, and in some cases incentives, to build the core digital skills that will open new opportunities for individuals and employers alike.”

Research by the Industrial Strategy Council suggested that by 2030, the UK’s biggest skills gap will be “basic digital capability”. Currently, only 32% of the UK’s workforce were able to complete all 17 Essential Digital Skills for Work tasks laid out in Lloyds’ annual digital skills index.

Digital skills gaps exist throughout the UK, not just at a more technical level that prevents organisations from finding skilled workers, but at a basic level that prevents people from fully participating in modern activities.

The FutureDotNow report said 32% of UK workers with at least a foundational level of digital skills can’t use digital systems, such as expenses or budgets systems, to manage digital records or financial accounts.

The same percentage cannot change their privacy settings on social networks accounts. A quarter of respondents said they couldn’t manage professional accounts on sites such as LinkedIn.

Using digital tools posed an issue for many, with 23% unable to use software such as spreadsheets to interpret data, 22% unable to access digital payslips or salary information through a password-protected account, 18% unable to use collaboration tools, and 20% without the ability to access and sync data across devices.

When it comes to cyber security, 30% said they were not able to update their device’s security systems and 19% said they couldn’t use security software to assess risks with certain online activities.

Looking at the mixture of different digital tasks that working adults were able to perform in the UK, FutureDotNow was able to identify four groups of behaviours that describe the UK working population’s relationship with digital skills.

About 3.5 million people, or 12%, are likely to be able to access salary information digitally, are careful when sharing information online and can use the internet for problem-solving, but are unlikely to be able to complete tasks such as updating computer systems, using professional networks and sharing information across devices. This group of people are more likely to be female than male, are aged around 45 or over, and are less likely to be mid-to-high earners.

In this “digitally lacking” group, 24% of people are unable to perform 25 or more of the 29 life tasks the Lloyds digital skills index deems essential and 60% are not able to do 14 or more of the 17 essential work tasks.

About 17% of working age people in the UK with at least a basic level of digital skills – around 5.2 million – fall into the category of “digitally safe”, being able to identify and avoid suspicious activity when using technology, as well as keeping data safe and using passwords online, but are less likely to be confident building an online professional network, using digital systems or using productivity tools.

Despite being safe online, this group of people show a lack of desire to learn new digital skills, with 18% of them lacking the ability to perform a majority of life tasks, and almost half unable to carry out 14 or more of the digital work tasks.

Many people fall into the “digitally vulnerable” category – about 4 million people – who are less likely to be able to complete a majority of the digital tasks needed for everyday life or for work.

The “digitally vulnerable” 13%, while most likely to be able to use communication tools to digitally collaborate as well as build their online professional persona, are lacking in other digital skills, such as changing privacy settings or updating computer systems.

The final 58%, accounting for about 17 million people, are fairly digitally literate – usually higher earners who are based in London and under the age of 45.

Only 15% of these people are not able to perform 14 or more of the work tasks, and 7% are unable to do 25 or more of the life tasks.

Many of the digitally less skilled profiles are likely to work in the government, education, and medicine sectors, as well as service workers.

In some cases, internal training has been seen as a way to fill technology skills gaps, upskilling current employees with the knowledge they need for roles, rather than competing with other companies in the smaller pool of existing tech talent.

Almost 60% of adults said the easiest way for them to learn digital skills would be through work, but only 23% are receiving any training through their workplace.

FutureDotNow had many suggestions for tackling this digital divide in the workplace, but training people internally with the appropriate skills was the main solution offered, with the report claiming that increasing digital skills could contribute billions of pounds to the economy over the next 10 years.

The report highlighted other benefits to ensuring that workers have digital skills. These included increased productivity and cyber security. FutureDotNow found a lack of digital skills can make it difficult for companies to adopt new technology, and 70% of digital transformation fails because of a lack of user adoption.

It also found that 39% of businesses have reported a cyber attack in the last year, and 83% have experienced a phishing attack. Employers could be at risk if employees lack the necessary digital skills to stay cyber-savvy.

Pointing out that businesses have a role to play in closing the UK’s skills gaps, the report cited identifying and resolving digital skills gaps as a way to begin closing the digital capability divide.

FutureDotNow said surveying the workforce to see where they are lacking in digital skills, being mindful of differing needs when designing education, and focusing on cyber skills first are all important when trying to address company skills gaps.

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives

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Nothing announces official launch date for new Ear (stick) AirPods alternatives
Nothing Ear (stick) held by a model on white background



(Image credit: Nothing )

True to form, Nothing has just announced the full reveal date for its upcoming audio product, Ear (stick). 

So, an announcement about an announcement. You’ve got to hand it to Carl Pei’s marketing department, they never miss a trick.

What we’re saying is that although we still have ‘nothing’ conclusive about the features, pricing or release date for the Ear (stick) except an image of another model holding them (and we’ve seen plenty of those traipsing down the catwalk recently), we do have a date – the day when we’ll be granted official access to this information. 

That day is October 26. Nothing assures us that on this day we’ll be able to find out everything, including pricing and product specifications, during the online Ear (stick) Reveal, at 3PM BST (which is 10AM ET, or 1AM on Wednesday if you’re in Sydney, Australia) on nothing.tech (opens in new tab)

Any further information? A little. Nothing calls the Ear (stick), which is now the product’s official name, “the next generation of Nothing sound technology”, and its “most advanced audio product yet”. 

But that’s not all! Apparently, Ear (stick) are “half in-ear true wireless earbuds that balance supreme comfort with exceptional sound, made not to be felt when in use. They’re feather-light with an ergonomic design that’s moulded to your ears. Delivered in a unique charging case, inspired by classic cosmetic silhouettes, and compactly formed to simply glide into pockets.” 

Opinion: I need more than a lipstick-style case

Nothing Ear (stick) – official leaked renders pic.twitter.com/FrhKmRttmiOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that I want Nothing’s earbuds to succeed in world dominated by AirPods; who doesn’t love a plucky, eccentric underdog? 

But in order to become some of the best true wireless earbuds on the market, there is room for improvement over the Nothing Ear 1, the company’s inaugural earbuds. 

Aside from this official ‘news’ from Nothing, leaked images and videos of the Ear (stick) have been springing up all over the internet (thank you, developer Kuba Wojciechowski) and they depict earbuds that look largely unchanged, which is a shame. 

For me, the focus needs to shift from gimmicks such as a cylindrical case with a red section at the end which twists up like a lipstick. Don’t get me wrong, I love a bit of theater, but only if the sound coming from the earbuds themselves is top dog. 

As the natural companions for the Nothing Phone 1, it makes sense for the Ear (stick) to take a place similar to that of Apple’s AirPods 3, where the flagship Ear (1) sit alongside the AirPods Pro 2 as a flagship offering. 

See, that lipstick case shape likely will not support wireless charging. That and the rumored lack of ANC means the Ear (stick) is probably arriving as the more affordable option in Nothing’s ouevre. 

For now, we sit tight until October 26. 

Becky is a senior staff writer at TechRadar (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? testing and reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage. When not writing, she can still be found throwing shapes in a dance studio, these days with varying degrees of success.  

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers

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YouTube could make 4K videos exclusive to Premium subscribers
Woman watching YouTube on mobile phone screen



(Image credit: Shutterstock / Kicking Studio)

You might soon have to buy YouTube Premium to watch 4K YouTube videos, a new user test suggests.

According to a Reddit thread (opens in new tab) highlighted on Twitter by leaker Alvin (opens in new tab), several non-Premium YouTube users have reported seeing 4K resolution (and higher) video options limited to YouTube Premium subscribers on their iOS devices. For these individuals, videos are currently only available to stream in up to 1440p (QHD) resolution.

The apparent experiment only seems to be affecting a handful of YouTube users for now, but it suggests owner Google is toying with the idea of implementing a site-wide paywall for access to high-quality video in the future.

So, after testing up to 12 ads on YouTube for non-Premium users, now some users reported that they also have to get a Premium account just to watch videos in 4K. pic.twitter.com/jJodoAxeDpOctober 1, 2022

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It’s no secret that Google has been searching for new ways to monetize its YouTube platform in recent months. In September, the company introduced five unskippable ads for some YouTube users as part of a separate test – an unexpected development that, naturally, didn’t go down well with much of the YouTube community. 

A resolution paywall seems a more palatable approach from Google. While annoying, the change isn’t likely to provoke the same level of ire from non-paying YouTube users as excessive ads, given that many smartphones still max out at QHD resolution anyway. 

Of course, if it encourages those who do care about high-resolution viewing to invest in the platform’s Premium subscription package, it may also be more lucrative for Google. After all, YouTube Premium, which offers ad-free viewing, background playback and the ability to download videos for offline use, currently costs $11.99 / £11.99 / AU$14.99 per month.

Suffice to say, the subscription service hasn’t taken off in quite the way Google would’ve hoped since its launch in 2014. Only around 50 million users are currently signed up to YouTube Premium, while something close to 2 billion people actively use YouTube on a monthly basis. 

Might the addition of 4K video into Premium’s perk package bump up that number? Only time will tell. We’ll be keeping an eye on our own YouTube account to see whether this resolution paywall becomes permanent in the coming months.

Axel is a London-based staff writer at TechRadar, reporting on everything from the newest movies to latest Apple developments as part of the site’s daily news output. Having previously written for publications including Esquire and FourFourTwo, Axel is well-versed in the applications of technology beyond the desktop, and his coverage extends from general reporting and analysis to in-depth interviews and opinion. 

Axel studied for a degree in English Literature at the University of Warwick before joining TechRadar in 2020, where he then earned a gold standard NCTJ qualification as part of the company’s inaugural digital training scheme. 

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

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Europe sets deadline for USB-C charging for (almost) all laptops

USB-C als Ladestandard in der EU

Mundissima / Shutterstock


Author: Michael Crider
, Staff Writer

Michael is a former graphic designer who’s been building and tweaking desktop computers for longer than he cares to admit. His interests include folk music, football, science fiction, and salsa verde, in no particular order.

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