New and in-depth research among employers has exposed the full potential of the digital sector to boost economic growth, but has also laid bare some significant skills shortages.
The next ten years will see the digital sector become a powerhouse of the UK economy, predicts the report. Green IT and cloud computing will change the way organisations work, while mobile technology will continue to transform individuals’ relationships with business. Big data will put unprecedented power in the hands of enterprises with the skills to analyse it. And underlying all this activity will be the need to ensure safety and security, whether that’s protecting the UK from cyber attack or keeping citizens’ banking details private.
The digital sector directly contributes nearly £69bn to the economy and has been resilient to recession: since 2009 employment in the sector has grown more than three times the average for the whole economy. Maintaining this growth and realising the sector’s full potential will require escalating recruitment at higher skill levels: currently, nearly 20% of vacancies are difficult to fill owing to skills shortages. Given the increased need for deep technical skills alongside interpersonal, team-working and project management capability, people with a rounded and multi-disciplinary training are in particular demand.
“This research emphasises how central technology is to the economy,” says Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK. The research was commissioned by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, and carried out by e-skills UK, the employer body for the digital industries. One of the key findings is that there is a growing need for high level IT specialisms, such as IT Architects, Big Data and Security specialists.