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Surging demand for tech jobs puts focus on training

Michelle Hawkins: Scotland needs to work hard to compete

A need to focus on training the next generation of tech workers has emerged from new data showing demand for skilled professionals rocketing in the past year.

Glasgow saw a seven-fold rise in demand and Edinburgh a five-times uplift as expanding firms seek to fill vacancies.

While the growth in companies and in the jobs market is seen as a sign of the sector’s health, it is also creating a fiercely competitive market across the UK, according to the latest Tech Talent Tracker from Accenture. It is also likely to push up salaries.

The tracker, which analyses LinkedIn’s Professional Network data, finds that demand for technology professionals has increased in every region from the previous year, as the technology jobs market recovers from the pandemic.

London continues to have the lion’s share of the UK’s open technology roles, at 68,000, with demand increasing by 89% from last year.

However, the findings show there is sizeable potential for cities outside London to become technology hubs in the future, with growth in demand in Scotland rising substantially. Edinburgh has over 11,200 open technology roles, while Glasgow is catching up rapidly, with demand up to more than 10,100 roles.

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Glasgow saw particularly strong growth for people with blockchain skills (up 33%), AI (29%) and data analytics (17%). Edinburgh’s talent pool was also boosted by strong growth in blockchain (27%) and AI (26%), as well as quantum computing (20%).

The research also showed slower growth in the number of people with technology skills in Scottish cities compared with other UK regions outside London. Glasgow experienced Scotland’s highest growth in technology professionals, up 6% in the past year, while Edinburgh saw 3% growth. This compared with stronger growth in other UK cities, including Manchester (up 25%), Oxford (up 24%) and Cardiff (up 9%).

Michelle Hawkins, managing director for Accenture Scotland, said: “As organisations that have invested in technology during the pandemic now look for the best pools of talented professionals with the right tech and software engineering skills Scotland needs to work hard to compete with other fast-growing UK regions.

“It’s positive Scottish cities are attracting new talent in areas like blockchain and AI, but we also need to ensure that our own schools, colleges and universities are focused on producing the next generation of technology professionals.”

Accenture plans to create 3,000 new technology jobs in the UK over the next three years. Half of the roles will be based outside of London, expanding Accenture’s presence in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds.

The new roles are being driven by increased client demand for services in platforms, cloud engineering, cybersecurity, data and intelligent operations.

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