Over half of large UK companies believe their staff have insufficient knowledge of IT, according to a survey released last week.
The survey, UK Business: Moving Into The Information Society, was commissioned by the Department of Trade & Industry to coincide with the first anniversary of its Information Society Initiative (ISI), Programme for Business.
The research found that while 79% of large UK companies consider IT to be essential to improving business competitiveness, 60% believe their staff do not have sufficient understanding of IT to fully exploit the opportunities. A fifth of the of large companies surveyed said they provide no IT training.
More than 60% of small-to-medium sized businesses felt their staff did have a good understanding of IT, although almost half (48%) of them provide no IT training. The report did not include any detailed explanation for the contrast. However, it could be due to smaller companies having lower expectations of their staff in terms of IT knowledge than larger firms.
The research also found that technologies such as video conferencing and EDI are rarely used, particularly in smaller companies. It also revealed that only one company in four is connected to the Internet.
Speaking at a conference to mark the anniversary of the ISI programme, Ian Taylor, Science and Technology minister, said existing programmes to target the lack of understanding of IT will be extended, and new ones introduced.
Taylor told delegates: "We know there is more to do in order to make smaller UK companies aware of the practical benefits and competitive edge that information and communication technologies can provide."
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