UK tech sector recruitment has seen its biggest increase in five years while nearly $50 billion investment has poured into the digital sector.
More than 100,000 job vacancies have become available per week since February 2021, while open roles rose to 132,000 in one week in May.
Britain is also currently leading Europe in venture capital (VC) investment in technology – with £48bn ($68bn) invested between 2015 and 2020.
Figures suggest that VC investment in the UK is on track to be a record year, with more international investment coming to the country than ever before.
Additionally, more than a third of Europe’s unicorn tech companies are based in the UK, with Edinburgh being one of seven UK cities home to at least two unicorn companies.
Nearly three million people are currently employed in the UK digital tech sector, with employment growing at more than 10% a year and accounting for 9% of the UK workforce
During the pandemic, key areas such as retail and healthcare have become increasingly digitised, meaning a boost in demand for tech-focus products and services.
Commenting on the research, Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “These new figures show our booming tech sector is helping the UK build back better, bringing well-paid jobs and exciting opportunities to people up and down the country.
“We’re investing heavily in digital infrastructure and skills to help create a golden age for UK tech and to help this vibrant industry soar to even further heights.”
The latest data shows that, despite the difficulties faced by firms during the pandemic, there is renewed interest in tech role hiring and investment as Britain attempts to boost its economy for a post-Covid future.
- NHS Scotland invests in ten new surgical robots
- IBioIC creates funding programme to support biotech spin-outs
- Live facial recognition must respect privacy, Information Commissioner states
Despite the boost in tech role availability, digital skills are still lacking across the UK. In May this year, a study carried out by FutureDotNow revealed that around half of those working in the UK are falling behind on the digital skills needed for a tech-fuelled world.
Numbers suggest a ‘hidden middle’, where 17.1 million workers in the UK require training to reach the level of knowledge required for a tech-based future.
Commenting on the importance of closing this digital skills divide, Tony Lysak, CEO of The Software Institute, said that investment will be a “key facet” as the UK’s attempts to become a world leader in tech. However, Lysak said, some key issues need addressing – primarily the digital skills gap.
“Widely discussed and continuously growing, the gap will continue to widen unless tackled through enablement from investment and training,” he said. “With 60% of businesses believing their reliance on specialist digital skills will increase over the next five years. Should the skills gap become more pronounced, corporations risk a talent deficit that will be both expensive and time-intensive to rectify.
“Moreover, the digital skills gap is made more challenging by the fact that technology is constantly evolving. IT skills have limited lifespans. That’s why companies need to not only ensure they can use existing software, but also identify upcoming trends and ensure their workforce is adequately trained to use them.”
However, in a boost for Scotland, it was announced in early June that more than 23,000 people across the country are to be given new online skills and training through the Connecting Scotland programme.
The £26-million programme aims to improve digital literacy and accessibility among people on lower incomes or socially isolated groups, such as the elderly.
Lysak continued: “At the moment, the IT skills radically evolving include everything from web design, testing, and data services. These are being progressively enhanced with UX/UI, cross-functional DevOps team members with automated test skills & cloud-based engineers often with specialist skills in Big Data.
“Investment will prove pivotal in keeping these skills current and therefore enabling employees to future proof their careers, as well as keeping the UK tech sector innovative and competitive.”