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Polling by The Big Issue and YouGov finds more than 90% of Brits say Digital Access is key to finding a job

The Big Issue and YouGov has found that the overwhelming majority of the UK public believes digital access is important in finding and securing a job.

Today (Monday, 7th March) The Big Issue and YouGov has found that the overwhelming majority of the UK public believes digital access is important in finding and securing a job.

The exclusive research from The Big Issue showed around 91 per cent of people said being able to afford the internet – whether through computers and broadband or smartphones and data – and having the skills to use it was key for those seeking employment.

However, currently, roughly 10 million people in the UK can’t access or use digital technology – which has become the primary platform for recruiting staff across nearly every sector – according to Lloyds Bank research. That is nearly 10 times the amount of job vacancies currently open across the country.

Just four per cent of people said the internet wasn’t important in looking for work, according to the Big Issue commissioned YouGov study which surveyed more than 1,660 adults on February 1st and 2nd.

The poll broke down findings across different ages of respondents and regions of the UK, asking about the importance of the internet in finding a job and also staying up to date on the latest Covid-19 news and guidance.

The poll was carried out days after the Department for Work and Pensions announced that Universal Credit claimants would have just four weeks, reduced from three months, to find a job in their field or face punitive sanctions.

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Around two million households struggle to afford broadband and smartphone services, Ofgem analysis showed. As many as 300,000 families were disconnected from the internet between 2020 and 2021 as a result of being in arrears.

Helen Milner OBE, group chief executive of Good Things Foundation, said: “This important public polling shows that it is impossible to look for and secure work without digital skills and affordable access to the internet.”

She continued: “This will affect the poorest people the hardest, and yet again those with the least will miss out on the opportunities available.”

Adding that millions of people lack “the most basic digital skills to function in today’s society. This isn’t a small problem. Combined with the cost of living crisis, there’s no doubt that the government, businesses and charities like Good Things Foundation need to work in partnership to fix the digital divide as quickly as possible.”

Campaigners have warned that the UK’s growing digital divide keeps many locked out of essential services and support, with vulnerable groups worst affected, and the soaring cost of utilities meaning some could have to choose between their internet connection and staying warm.

Around 88 per cent of respondents also said digital access was important for managing money and staying connected with friends and family.

Also, around 75 per cent of people said digital inclusion was a big part of managing one’s health, including making GP appointments, as well as keeping up to date with Covid-19 safety measures.

To support The Big Issue and its network of 1,300 vendors around the UK, please pick up a copy from your local vendor or, if you can’t get to a local vendor, buy a subscription at www.bigissue.com/subscribe.

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