Benchmarking the digital and financial capability of people in the UK
The Lloyds Bank Consumer Digital Index is the largest measure of financial and digital capability of people in the UK.
Now in it’s third year of publication, the Index combines consumers’ actual behavioural data with survey research to understand the attitudes behind their behaviour.
For the first time, the report brings to life new details on Basic Digital Skills, digital skills in the workplace, new demographic data, money management attitudes and research on 11-18 year olds.
There are now 4.3 million people (8%) in the UK with zero Basic Digital Skills – this is 470,000 fewer people than in 2017. The proportion of UK citizens with the full five Basic Digital Skills has plateaued, 11.3 million people (21%) have limited abilities online.
There are now 8.5 million people (17%) who would struggle immediately if their income were to stop; this is 1.1 million more people than in 2017. However, there are 1.3 million more people who could support themselves for three months or more, suggesting a growing divide in the population’s financial safety net.
There are key groups who could benefit from digital and financial support – people with a registered disability are four times more likely not to be online. Only one third of UK adults receive money management advice and people with low financial capability are almost twice as likely to not seek financial advice.
Currently 10% of the workforce do not have Basic Digital Skills - this group earns £13,000 less than those with all five Basic Digital Skills. Those currently unemployed are also almost three times as likely to have limited digital use.
For the online population, there are a number of benefits – four in ten say being online helps them feel less alone. These benefits are even greater for some – those with a registered disability are 27% more likely to say the internet helps them feel less alone.
With 450,000 fewer people with zero Basic Digital Skills and 200,000 more with a bank account, progress has been made but not enough.
As the proportion of people with all five Basic Digital Skills has not changed since 2017, it is important that organisations work together to join the dots for end users.
People need to be aware of how they can access support based on their needs, not individual organisational offers. Partners can aim to ensure a joined up approach is provided across all user touch points and sectors. Aligning online and offline experiences will help people to access support and advice when and where they need it.
This can only happen through the power of partnerships - Initiatives like the Digital Skills Partnership and the Financial Inclusion Policy Forum are key for leveraging understanding from different perspectives, and for reaching all possible audiences.
Eight in ten people have concerns about online security; identity theft is the main reason for concern.
Larger organisations need to not just ensure their use of online customer data and digital is compliant, but communicate explicitly to customers that this is the case. This should be done through offline channels as well as on online platforms.
Acknowledging the importance of online security to using the internet, the new Essential Digital Skills framework - launching May 2018 - brings safety and security to the fore. This framework will replace the current Basic Digital Skills measure, and enable a new annual benchmark of UK digital skills in life and work. It has been designed in collaboration with partners across sectors and signifies pan-industry and policymaker recognition that online safety and security is paramount.
10% of the workforce do not have Basic Digital Skills, yet 9m people want to improve their productivity at work through digital.
Large employers have an opportunity to support their employees with skills development and life-long learning. Digital development through large organisations can drive overall change in the UK.
A Digital Champions model could also be further embedded across large organisations. Harnessing existing skills to provide face-to-face support and advocacy can help improve organisations’ capabilities and also those of customers and citizens.
Industry are also well placed to support the education sector with skills support, helping to set up the future workforce with the financial and digital skills needed for success.
People with a registered disability are four times more likely to be offline.
The public and private sectors have a key role to play in building accessible and inclusive products and services and any contact with end users must be supported with skills training.
It is key that the 2018 Index data is used to understand the demographic groups who have the most to gain and that they and their needs are prioritised.
For example, for the financially excluded, identification and verification measures are a key opportunity to help further reduce the number of people without a bank account.