Digital Technologies - The Fastest Growing Sector in Scotland

The growth and development of digital technologies has had a transformative impact on both our social lives and the economy in the last decade. The way business is conducted has been revolutionised by the development of digital technologies accompanied by the establishment and growth of digitech businesses. Looking forward the pace of technological development does not look to be slowing. The challenge for policy makers is how this can be harnessed for economic growth.

In recognition of the growing importance of the this fast moving sector, ekosgen was commissioned to carry out research on the current and forecast supply and demand for digital technologies skills in Scotland.  Earlier this month, Scotland’s Digital Technologies, a report based on ekosgen’s research, was published by Skills Development Scotland and the Digital Technologies Skills Group.

The headline finding from the research is that the in the years to 2024 the digital technology sector is forecast to be the fastest growing sector in Scotland, growing at over double the rate of the Scottish economy as a whole. This reflects the growing number of tech businesses in Scotland, with numbers having risen by 53% from 2010-2015 nearly three times higher than the overall business growth rate, which was 19%.

Whilst there are some 60,000 people employed in tech businesses throughout Scotland, Digital technology skills are just as important in a multitude of sectors throughout the Scottish economy, with over 90,000 people employed in tech roles overall.

The Scottish Government’s policy of promoting inclusive growth will ensure that across the Scottish population there is promotion and development of the skills needed to work in such a key sector for economic growth and innovation. Particularly as tech jobs offer an average salary of £37,500 - over 30% higher than the overall Scottish average of £28,000.

Promoting and developing digitech skills is needed given the skills gap currently faced by employers. Some 80% said that workforce skills is presently a real issue for their business. Similarly they feel it will be an ongoing issue and expect recruiting people with the right technical skills to be difficult in the future. 

The findings from our research are far reaching in providing a current and future skills evidence base for the sector. Moving forward they will help inform skills planning and investment to support and develop digital technologies skills.

Read a summary of the ekosgen report here: Scotland’s Digital Technologies: Summary Report http://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/media/43306/scotlands-digital-technologies-summary-report.pdf   

ekosgen's full report, Scotland’s Digital Technologies: Research & Analysis Report, can be found here:
http://ekosgen.co.uk/docs/093_028__scotlandsdigitaltechnologiesresearchandanalysisreport_1500653090.pdf