The digital skills gap remains a key sector challenge across the North, with 58% of digital companies in the region stating that finding ‘talent’ is a key challenge for them, according to new research conducted by EY and Tech North.
The report states that for every worker in digital tech in the North, there are 1.4 vacancies, with 168,671 digital tech workers for 712,750 advertised vacancies over the last three years.
Despite the challenge that businesses face in attracting digital talent, the report also revealed 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, set to grow by 3.5% a year until 2020, which is more than three times higher than the predicted manufacturing rate of just 1%.
Richard Gregory, director of Tech North, said:
“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.”
The average media salary across digital tech in the North is 48% higher than overall level for the region.
Bob Ward, Senior Partner, North at EY, added:
“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.”