Teenage Clicks – Are You Ready for the Digital First Era?

A survey of more than 1000 UK 13-17 year olds points to a future workforce that is ‘digital first’ in everything it does, and whose digital talents could bring significant economic value to the UK. The findings are published today in a report by Logicalis UK, entitled ‘The Realtime Generation: Rise of the Digital First Era‘.

The survey, conducted by research company Youngbods, reveals the digital life of the average UK teen includes six digital devices and access to 192GB of storage, while two-thirds are creating and actively sharing videos online.

This connected generation consider Maths, English, Science and ICT the four most essential subjects to study; and IT and Science top career choices. The findings also demonstrate a demand for change in the workplace of the future.

Gerry Carroll, author of the report at Logicalis UK, comments,  “The statistics show a highly connected, commercially aware generation that is pursuing careers in STEM industries, and whose instinctive ICT skills could bring innovation and greater productivity to the workplace.

“This generation has the potential to deliver a digital dividend; an economic return on their ICT skills. But it won’t happen by itself.  The challenge for Government, the education system and employers is to sustain this generation’s interest in the professions and industries that give Britain its competitive edge.”

Further findings from the research include:

Digital First: They are connected, cloud-ready, creators of digital content.

  • The average Realtimer owns six digital devices. 84% own a smartphone.
  • 26% claim to have more than 512GB of storage, 33% are using cloud services.
  • 46% said they couldn’t live without their smartphone, only 4% without TV.
  • Only 1 in 10 boys have coded, a further 1 in 3 teens would like the opportunity too.
  • Bill Gates was selected as top role model by UK teens (46%) over leading figures from business, sport, IT, literature and TV.

Digital Choices: STEM subjects, university and science careers rule, but economic fears remain.

  • 54% said the state of the UK economy has already influenced education and career choices. 74% think it will negatively impact their career prospects.
  • Maths, English, Science and ICT are considered the top subjects needed to secure desired career.
  • The top career choices for UK teens are:  1. Science & Research, 2. Teaching & Education, 3. Healthcare, 4. IT & Technology.
  • The gender gap remains for IT & Technology careers, selected by 31% of boys and only 6% of girls.
  • 70% are planning to go to university, only 7% to take an apprenticeship.

Digital Future: Connected teens say UK plc needs to evolve to get ready for them.

  • 4 in 10 plan to work remotely and flexibly when they enter work. 25% don’t think the UK’s broadband infrastructure is good enough for this yet.
  • 89% expect their employers to fund the digital devices they need for work. 51% expect to choose these devices.
  • Three quarters expect UK plc to update devices and technologies to support their IT habits and needs.
  • 85% want to engage with government services online when they finish school.
  • Teens rate digital more important than physical infrastructure for their future, with High Speed Broadband rated more important than High Speed Railway (HS2).

The report provides a unique insight for universities, employers and Government into how this generation will influence our economy and change the workplace. Carroll adds:

“The Realtime Generation is expecting to use the technologies and devices to which they’re accustomed, throughout their education and into their careers.  A student body or workforce that uses its digital know-how to improve performance or increase productivity is a highly attractive proposition. The nation will only benefit from this opportunity, however, if the infrastructure and working practices are in place to accommodate this generation’s expectations.”

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