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Nick Hill

New report sheds light on overall skills shortage in digital tech jobs across the North

According to new research compiled by EY and Tech North, for each current worker in digital tech in the North, there are 1.4 vacancies.

The research revealed that there are currently 168,671 digital tech workers in the North, yet over the past three years 712,750 vacancies were advertised.

Despite this, the research also highlighted that productivity in digital tech across the North grew four times faster than other sectors throughout the region.

The Gross Value Added (GVA) of digital tech roles was £9.9bn, and this is set to grow by 3.5% a year until 2020.

The digital skills gap, however, is still a factor across the North. The research found that 58% of digital companies in the North state that finding ‘talent’ is a key business challenge.

Richard Gregory, director of Tech North, commented: “Back in 2017, we convened over a hundred members of the digital community in the North of England to propose solutions to the skills gap… not just talk around the edges of it. We were, and still are, focused on action.

“This data presents a big challenge – digital tech roles are more likely to remain unfilled compared to other industries, however this is also an opportunity since these jobs typically pay more than the median average salary, delivering a higher level of productivity to the economy in the process.”

Bob Ward, senior partner at North at EY, commented: “This report indicates the beginnings of potentially radical changes in where the North’s future employment growth will come from. The digital revolution continues apace with marked changes to the make-up of the North’s economy on the horizon.

“The Government’s investment in both training computer science teachers and digital skills – referenced in November’s Budget – is very welcome at this time of rapid change. But the speed of growth this sector is experiencing and the size of the opportunity for the North means that, if we are to ensure we have the right talent to make the most of it, we all need to respond now.”

Richard added: “Tech North, soon to be Tech Nation, will attempt to address some of these topics, but it is for the industry as a whole to take ownership of the challenge.”

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