MIOIR Researchers launch new report on the Adoption of Digital Technologies and Skills in Greater Manchester

Silvia Massini, Mabel Sanchez-Barrioluengo, Xiaoxiao Yu have published a report exploring the key findings from ADiTS survey, in collaboration with the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce.

New report on the Adoption of Digital Technologies and Skills in Greater Manches
New report on the Adoption of Digital Technologies and Skills in Greater Manchester

High costs and a lack of access to people with the relevant skills are significant barriers to businesses adopting digital technologies across Greater Manchester, according to a major new AMBS report.

Funded by the AMBS Strategic Investment Fund, the project - entitled Skills, Employment and Innovation in the Digital Economy - has two strands. Firstly, a quantitative analysis based on secondary data to assess the relationship between skills and the development of digital technologies in the UK. And secondly, a bespoke survey implemented by Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to address issues related to the Adoption of Digital Technologies and Skills (ADiTS) needs in Greater Manchester.

The ADiTS survey main results have now been published , and include the following key findings:

78% of firms in Greater Manchester have adopted at least one digital technology.

Cloud computing is the most widespread technology with 70% of firms adopting this technology. Other technologies such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, 3D printing, Internet of Things and robotics have only been adopted by a quarter of firms.

Digital technologies are complementary and 43% of respondents adopted two or more.

The main reasons for adopting digital technologies are related to the innovation of processes (67%) followed by the expansion of product or service range (51%), and process or method upgrade (49%). Task automation was selected by 45% of firms.

Digital technologies increase a firm’s productivity, but also net increase employment, with 22% of the adopters increasing the number of employees and 41% increasing the number of skilled workers.

Skills related to problem-solving in a digital environment, as well as numeracy, literacy, IT, reading and writing are key for technology adopters, but skills requirements are technology and sector specific.


The overall project is headed by Silvia Massini, Professor of Economics and Management of Innovation, and Dr Mabel Sanchez-Barrioluengo, Presidential Fellow. Other academics involved are research associates Huma Javaid and Xiaoxiao Yu.

The project had three key objectives. Firstly, to identify the key features of skills change over recent decades in the UK, both at local and national level, and gauge the impact of technology on the changing nature of occupations. Secondly, to assess new skill requirements needed in the digital economy. And thirdly, to analyse how skills and employment changes affect innovation performance.