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Charities say over a third of their staff lack digital skills

19 Aug 2019 News

More than a third of voluntary sector organisations have reported that their staff are missing necessary digital skills, according to analysis by NCVO published today.

The umbrella body analysed data from the government’s Employer Skills Survey (ESS) 2017 and found that charity sector employees had better digital skills than those in the public sector but worse than those in the private sector.

Some 36 per cent of voluntary organisations reported that their staff are missing necessary digital skills, compared to 33 per cent in the private sector and 53 per cent in the public sector.

Furthermore, 28 per cent said their staff lacked basic IT skills and computer literacy, compared to 23 per cent in the private sector and 38 per cent in the public sector.

And 19 per cent said their staff did not have more advanced or specialist IT, compared to 18 per cent in the private sector and 33 per cent in the public sector.

The analysis was carried out as part of a broader piece of research on skills in the charity sector, which NCVO is due to launch on Thursday.

Some 6,088 of respondents to the government's ESS 2017 were senior members of staff in the voluntary sector.

The government is currently undertaking research for its 2019 survey, the results of which are due to be published next year.

‘Serious strategic weakness’

Megan Griffith Gray, NCVO’s head of digital, data and planning, said in a blog on her organisation’s website that the digital skills gap is a “serious strategic weakness for the sector”.

She said: “We’re at a crucial time for turning this around. The sector can’t afford to wait and hope things gradually improve over time, or we’ll be left behind and it will be hard to recover.

“But I know this isn’t easy. There are organisations doing amazing digital work, but for many, especially smaller organisations, it’s hard to know where to start.”

She said a new initiative called the Catalyst, of which NCVO is a founding member, will aim to offer more support for charities to boost their digital skills.

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