IT contractors who have skills and capabilities in the cyber security, mobile technologies, green IT and cloud computing sectors will underpin the £69bn contribution to the UK economy made by the digital sector.
This is the conclusion of a report by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and IT sector skills council e-skills, Technology and Skills in the digital Industries, published in September 2013.
“The digital sector contributes nearly £69 billion to the economy,” explains UKCES research manager Rachel Pinto. “Much of this is through the technology IT specialists develop and the services they provide. It is also one of the most productive sectors with a growth rate since the recession three times above average.
“Of the total 1.1 million IT specialists in the UK, just under half are employed in the digital sector, with the rest most likely to be employed in finance and professional services, manufacturing or the public sector.”
According to the report, the number of jobs and contracts in the sector has grown by 5.5% between 2009 and 2012, which is more than three times the rate of job creation in the wider economy. “Digital sector workers are…amongst the most highly qualified members of the UK workforce,” continues the report.
However, the report identifies that the digital sector suffers from an acute imbalance in supply and demand: “Skills shortage vacancies equate to 17% of all vacancies in the sector, and are experienced by over 3,000 employers.”
The skills in greatest demand are advanced IT and software skills, including security, systems integration, big data, risk management, sales, communications and sector specific skills. Contractors who can fill the following roles are in particular demand:
- IT architects
- ‘Big Data’ specialists
- Project managers
- Security specialists.
The impact of the skills shortage is slowing the adoption of new game-changing technologies to the UK’s businesses and delaying new products and services.
Pinto concludes: “To make sure the digital sector really thrives, there’s a clear need for employers to take ownership of the skills agenda and play an active role in training the next generation of IT specialists.”