Most SMEs ‘worried about digital future’

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Over half of small and medium sized firms in the North West believe that they will need enhanced or increased digital capabilities in the next three years to cope with the ever-changing business landscape.

Of that number, 88 per cent are worried about how they will successfully upskill, with many firms citing difficulties finding suitably skilled staff and the level of investment required as potential stumbling blocks.

Andrew Metcalfe, Regional Sales Director for Close Brothers Invoice Finance in the North West said: “Our findings suggest that many local SMEs do not feel adequately equipped for the future and that many are concerned that finding staff with the appropriate skills will be a challenge.”

The figures come from the latest Close Brothers Business Barometer, a quarterly survey that seeks to canvass the opinion of SME owners and managers across the UK on a range of issues that affect their business.

Mr Metcalfe added: “A recent paper published by 02, The Future Digital Skills Needs of the UK Economy, estimates that there is a requirement for almost three quarters of a million (745,000) additional workers with digital skills to meet the rising demand from employers and fuel the UK economy during the next three years.

“With this in mind, we need to explore how the North West can be prepared to compete in a digital global economy.”