UK behind in rankings for data and technology skills, claims report

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The UK lags behind in global and European rankings for data and technology skills, according to Coursera’s latest Global Skills Report (GSR).

The UK placed #34 globally in data skills and #47 in technology skills, lagging behind much of Western Europe and placing lower overall compared to last year’s report. 

GSR draws on performance data since the pandemic’s onset from more than 77 million learners on the platform to benchmark skills proficiency across business, technology, and data science for over 100 countries. For the first time, the Global Skills Report also reveals the top skills needed for high-demand entry-level jobs, including the learning hours required to develop them. 

Despite the global drop in rankings, it’s promising to see the UK government taking action, the report claims. Most recently, the government’s partnership with Google will provide UK jobseekers with scholarships for Google Career Certificates on Coursera, it says.

A few more UK highlights from this year’s report include:

  • Despite relatively low global rankings, the UK still appears competitive in data science and technology skills: In the field of data science, the UK has a 69% skills proficiency. In the field of technology, the UK has a 57% skills proficiency. 
  • Traditional skills such as maths, and probability and statistics rank highest across tech and data science: The UK has a 79% skills proficiency for mathematics and 75% skills proficiency for probability and statistics.
  • The UK performs well in machine learning and theoretical computer science: The UK has a 72% skills proficiency in machine learning and 71% skills proficiency in theoretical computer science. The Machine Learning course offered by Stanford University was also the second most popular course among UK learners.
  • Female STEM learning increased as digital transformation rose in importance: The share of female enrollment in STEM courses increased from 34% in 2018-19 to 42% in 2020. The percentage of UK female learners on the platform is 49%. 

Says Anthony Tattersall, Vice President EMEA, Coursera:

“As shown in our report findings, access to a variety of job-relevant credentials, including a path to entry-level digital jobs, will be key to reskilling at scale and accelerating economic recovery in the UK and beyond.”

“It’s great to see the UK government taking early action by joining forces with Google to offer scholarships for digital upskilling on Coursera.”

To download the full report, visit

Chris Price
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