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ScotlandIS Survey: Scotland’s Digital Technology Companies Optimistic for 2018

Dominique Adams

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COVID-19

New survey shows confidence amongst Scotland’s digital technology companies is overwhelmingly positive reflecting optimism over sales, profits and international growth in the coming year.

ScotlandIS had just released its 13th annual Scottish Technology Industry Survey, the results show a positive outlook for 2018 with sales, recruitment, apprenticeships and gender diversity all forecast to increase.

Sales Increasing

80% of respondents expecting a good year ahead. Nearly one third predicted more than a 50% increase in their sales, while 80% said they expected to increase their employee numbers over the next twelve months. The survey was carried out earlier this year and included 205 respondents.

Apprenticeships on the Up

In terms of recruitment, 70% of respondents said they expected to recruit new talent from within the local market place. For the past five years the figure of those expecting to recruit graduates has remained steady at 73% but the number looking to modern apprentice schemes for fresh talent has increased. In 2016 only 19% considered taking on apprentices, this number increased to 38% in 2017 and is now at 45% with companies saying they would be ‘definitely’ or ‘quite likely’ to recruit in this way.

Tackling The Technology Gender Gap Together

For the first time this year, ScotlandIS polled members on the measures they were taking to tackle the gender pay gap. More than 50% said that flexible work patterns had helped with recruiting female staff. The vast majority said they were considering engaging with initiatives such as providing more female role models for schools and universities. They would also consider offering ‘return to work training’ and supporting groups such as Girl Geek Scotland and Scottish Women in Technology.

Key Challenges

The report revealed new key challenges including staff recruitment and retention, developing new business and concerns over GDPR. 10% of respondents cited Brexit, the current US political situation and the potential of a second independence referendum in Scotland as reasons for pessimism. This is not unexpected as  64% of Scottish companies polled said they are already exporting internationally with 17% are planning to do so. Europe has replaced the Rest of the UK as Scotland’s top destination for exports so naturally the uncertainty about the international market and Scotland’s place within it has negatively impacted the level of optimism.

Polly PurvisPolly Purvis, Chief Executive of ScotlandIS, said: “This year’s survey shows that Scotland’s digital technology industry is thriving with many of our businesses enjoying success at home as well as experiencing increasing overseas demand. The overwhelming majority of respondents are optimistic about the year ahead and are forecasting business growth.”

“This is good news not just for our industry but the country as a whole as more jobs are created and investment increases across the sector. 64% of small businesses, 73% of medium businesses and 78% of large businesses, reported increased sales in 2017.”

“Looking to 2018, 87% of small businesses, 86% of medium businesses and 81% of large businesses expect sales to increase. There is a continuing need for skilled newcomers to ensure our businesses can fulfil their potential. For graduates and apprentices, both from here and abroad, there is an exceptional opportunity to forge a career in an exciting and expanding market. In addition, the increasing emphasis on the importance of closing the gender gap means minds are focusing on ways to encourage women to join or return to careers in the industry.”

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Dominique Adams

Staff Writer, DIGIT

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