New data collected through Accenture’s UK Tech Talent Tracker shows a resurging demand for artificial intelligence (AI) and Quantum Computing skills in Scotland.
The number of tech job listings in the UK declined by 57% in 2020, with fewer than 55,000 open roles advertised, according to the latest research.
Despite this, demand for skills in emerging technologies such as AI and Quantum Computing is increasing in Scotland’s leading tech hubs, Edinburgh and Glasgow.
The tracker, which analysed LinkedIn’s Professional Network data, found that the overall decline in job openings in Edinburgh was slightly less than the UK average, at 54%, but wider in Glasgow, which fell by 64% over the past year.
However, over the past six months, demand for AI expertise has increased by 96% in Edinburgh – far greater than the UK average of 73% – and increased by 70% in Glasgow. Demand for Quantum Computing is up 114% in Edinburgh, which Accenture says is “well above the UK average” of 46%.
There were also signs that businesses are looking to recruit professionals in several key technologies. As companies rely on cloud infrastructure and platforms to support a remote workforce and transform their businesses, cloud computing was found to be the most in-demand technology skill in the UK, with nearly 35,000 open roles advertised, over 1,400 of which are in Scotland.
Commenting on the data, Michelle Hawkins, Managing Director for Accenture in Scotland, said: “Whilst the overall technology jobs market in Scotland has been hit heavily by the pandemic, there are significant tech skills that remain in great demand.
“The pace of digital transformation has rapidly accelerated across all industry sectors, making more businesses open to hiring tech talent. The resurgence in demand for Al and Quantum Computing skills shows the level of ambition that exists, while it is equally encouraging to see experienced professionals learning new skills in these areas.
“Ensuring Scotland’s businesses can access the right tech talent is critical not only for recovery but also for future growth.”
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Accenture’s analysis shows 41% of all technology-related job postings are for professionals based in London, with more than 420,000 tech professionals citing the capital as their current location.
Edinburgh, the third-largest technology hub, places some way behind with nearly 23,000 technology professionals while Glasgow ranks eighth, with just over 15,000 people listed.
Mark Byrne, head of Applied Intelligence for Accenture in Scotland, said: “The figures for AI and Quantum Computing indicate that Edinburgh and Glasgow remain hubs for data science and innovation in these fields.
“The pandemic rapidly accelerated digital transformation and taught us that we must all master change. Bringing together data and artificial intelligence to manage our physical worlds will drive our ability to grow economically and sustainably.
“The advantage that Edinburgh and Glasgow also have is that both are great work locations in a post-Covid world, where the priority on access to outside space and the ability to work remotely has shifted. This coupled with a buzzing and vibrant technology ecosystem in Scotland is making it a real draw.”