Last updated: 19.06.13

UK SMEs 'carrying out DIY IT'

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK are turning to DIY IT in order to keep their companies afloat.

According to new research commissioned by TalkTalk Business, despite the fact that few firms have formalised tech training in place and one-quarter of employees will report issues to their dedicated IT team, nearly two-thirds (62 per cent) prefer to tackle IT challenges themselves.

However, the study further found that only nine per cent of staff at SMEs rate their computer abilities, indicating that there is a skills gap that needs to be dealt with and ongoing IT training must be prioritised.

What's more, in nearly 60 per cent of SMEs surveyed, staff stated that better IT skills would make them more efficient in the workplace and increase their peer respect and career opportunities.

Charles Bligh, managing director of TalkTalk Business, said most companies would agree that having the right IT systems and technical knowledge in place within their teams is essential to growth, "but addressing the skills gap effectively is the key to unlocking any investment in technology".

He added the best way to reduce the time and resource burden for British SMEs relying on IT is to make online services as simple and accessible as possible.

Of the employees questioned, more than half (51 per cent) claimed the responsibility for IT training lies with their boss, showing that companies that have yet to equip their workforce with relevant computer skills should do so if they want to retain their staff.

Mr Bligh remarked: "Businesses which are able to invest in reducing the skills gap will clearly be able to benefit from improved efficiencies and productivity - as well as the positive and engaged attitude staff have to technology in the workplace."

It will also mean that workers can reap the benefits of online training materials, including Virtual College's range of electronic modules. The e-learning provider boasts a range of resources in key areas, from social media and confidentiality in the workplace to data protection and sharing information.