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Technology Adoption and Skills A Pilot Study of Kent SMEs

Catherine Robinson, Christian Siegel and Sisi Liao ()

Studies in Economics from School of Economics, University of Kent

Abstract: Does the successful deployment of digital technologies require complementary investment in skills? We conducted a pilot survey to investigate. The survey elicited information on whether the firm was adopting one of the three digital technologies of interest (AI, robotics, big data), provided in-house training, and whether they experienced any problems recruiting workers. We find evidence that new technologies require complementary skill investments and that firms deem both new technologies and training of their workforce important for productivity. While there is some heterogeneity across the type of technologies (Robotics, AI, Big Data) introduced, firms facing difficulties attracting workers with the right skills are more likely to run own training programmes. This might suggest that there is a skills gap that may be holding back productivity and economic growth. Overall, the findings from our pilot survey demonstrate firms's awareness of the need for skills to complement new technologies to realise the productivity benefits in full.

Keywords: capital-skill complementarity; business performance; technology adoption (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: J24 M53 O33 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021-12
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-bec, nep-big, nep-cse, nep-eff, nep-ent, nep-eur, nep-ict, nep-pay and nep-sbm
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