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UK CEOs target digital success with investment in people and skills

PwC’s UK Tax Leader Marissa Thomas says our 23rd CEO Survey shows business leaders across the UK are shifting gear.

Setting the scene

PwC’s 23rd CEO Survey has revealed UK business leaders are planning a practical and purposeful response to economic uncertainty. Here, Marissa Thomas, UK Tax Leader, and a member of PwC's UK Management Board, explains how CEOs are shifting gear.

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“CEOs know that keeping up with change is not just about teaching people how to learn how to use a new device”

Marissa Thomas, UK Tax Leader and a member of PwC’s UK Management Board

Navigating uncertainty

Our survey shows that UK business leaders have become acutely aware that technology is changing jobs at a rapid pace - indeed the speed of technological change was flagged as a threat to business by 75% of those we surveyed.

Investing in technology goes hand in hand with upskilling. CEOs know that keeping up with change is not just about teaching people how to learn how to use a new device. It’s about learning how to think, operate and thrive in a digital world. They want to make the right tech decisions to help upskill their people and retain a strong and productive workforce.


Practical and purposeful plans

Upskilling has become a priority for society, organisations and governments. In the last year, our clients’ needs have evolved as tax authorities change the playing field by adopting new technologies. We have responded by introducing new services that are technology enabled. 

Many of our clients are on the lookout for new ways to deliver tax, legal and HR services - due to the rising cost of compliance and past under investment in tech and support functions. Over the next four years, PwC itself is committing $3bn to upskilling. This money will predominantly be invested in training our people and in technologies for supporting clients and communities.

“75% of UK CEOs believe their upskilling programmes are effective in supporting innovation and accelerated digital transformation.”

PwC's 23rd CEO Survey

Technology is behind a widening skills gap within society. Our research has found that half of UK workers know that automation will change their jobs and they want to learn new skills to improve their employability. CEOs clearly appreciate this. Of the respondents, 41% said they’re making moderate progress towards establishing an upskilling programme - while 14% said they are making significant progress.

It’s among their top priorities - 75% of CEOs said their upskilling programmes have achieved greater innovation and accelerated digital transformation, helping to grow the business, improve talent acquisition and retention, and increase workforce productivity.


Looking ahead

By investing across the regions in technologies and people, UK businesses are starting the new decade with the right focus. They will have the opportunity not only to retain their workforces but to create new jobs as old ones become automated, capitalising on the UK’s position as a highly skilled and innovative economy.

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Kevin Ellis

Kevin Ellis

Chairman and Senior Partner, PwC United Kingdom

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