In a survey by PwC of people across the UK, Germany, China, India and the US, 69% of workers agreed or strongly agreed that they possess digital skills.
Workers in India (83%), China (68%) and the US (68%) are the most confident, with Germany (63%) and the UK (61%) not too far behind.
When it comes to STEM skills (science, technology, engineering and maths), confidence levels are lower, with the picture varying more widely by country. Just more than half of all people surveyed (53%) agreed or strongly agreed they possess STEM abilities, says PwC, suggesting more can be done by employers and governments to boost people’s skills and confidence.
Looking at the results by country, workers in India (74%), China (59%) and the US (53%) have higher levels of confidence in their STEM skills, compared to their peers in the UK (33%) and Germany (44%), although this could to some degree by caused by cultural differences.
Says Carol Stubbings, Joint Global Leader, People and Organization, PwC: “It’s encouraging that confidence in digital and STEM skills is high in most countries. But the survey results also point to some weak spots. For example, more could be done in the UK to address the lack of confidence in STEM skills. To boost productivity, it’s paramount that companies, schools and governments act now to equip people with the skills that will be most valuable now and in the future.”
The research suggests workers are generally happy to take learning into their own hands with 74% of respondents agreeing it is their own responsibility to update their skills rather than relying on an employer, PwC says. Workers from India (88%) and the US (79%) are most likely to take personal responsibility. In the UK, the figure was lower at 56%.
PwC says the good news for CEOs is that the soft skills they’re looking for are the most frequently claimed skills. These are the skills that businesses will need in the future as humans work alongside automation and artificial intelligence.
Three-quarters or more of respondents said they have soft skills, with adaptability scoring highest (86%), followed by problem-solving (85%), collaboration skills (81%) and emotional intelligence (76%).