Three-quarters of over-45s keen to invest in digital skills

Microsoft report finds that many want to reskill in order to weather the effects of the pandemic

A desk set up for learning digital skills

Nearly three-quarters of people over the age of 45 say they are willing to invest time in learning digital skills

The findings come from a Microsoft report, which reveals that many (44%) of over-45s are keen to pursue a new career, with 23% of workers over 45 years saying they would consider switching to a role in tech. 

In order to do so, 73% of over-45s said they would commit over three hours a week to reskilling. However, 60% of the same generation said they do not know what resources are available for them to improve their digital skills. 

The sudden appetite to learn IT skills in the over-45s is largely due to long-term financial concerns, as the impact of the pandemic has many fearing for both job security and also retirement plans. Around 32% of respondents said they were worried about financial security and 26% expressed concerns about the rising state pension ages - currently 66-years-old for both men and women in the UK. 

Concurrently, the tech industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors and Microsoft believes it needs to avoid misconceptions that recruitment mainly focuses on the young.  

"There has never been a greater need for individuals to invest time in upskilling and developing their digital skills," said Simon Lambert, Microsoft's chief learning officer.

"There is a dangerous misconception that the tech industry is just an industry for the young. The truth is that we need people with a diverse range of experiences, backgrounds and ages. And we need them now to fill the growing skills gap which, left unplugged, will significantly impact the UK's recovery." Lambert is encouraging people who are considering exploring an "encore" career to look at opportunities available at Microsoft Digital Skills Hub, where they can also seek advice on how to get started.

The top roles for over-45s that were identified in the research were IT support (35%), design (25%), ops manager (18%), data scientist (17%) and developer (16%).

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