IT demand increases and inward investment in UK tech sector receives welcome cash injection
Last week saw the launch of the inaugural London Technology Week – a showcase event aimed at firmly positioning London as the digital capital of Europe. Described as a 'celebration of growth', the event was an opportunity to draw attention to the strength of and the enormous opportunities that lie ahead for the tech sector - not just in London but also throughout the rest of UK.
Attracting over 40,000 visitors from around the world, and with 200 events taking place during the week, London Technology Week, according to London Mayor Boris Johnson, “exceeded all expectations” and brought much needed investment for an industry that seems to have a promising future ahead.
Indeed, the digital sector in the UK is growing at a rate of knots. And earlier this month, it was announced that an extra 46,000 new jobs will be created within the sector over the next 10 years. This is in addition to the 2,000 new apprentices that will be taken on between now and 2016 by the likes of Microsoft, Capgemini and Virgin Media who are among a contingency of 8 leading tech firms who have pledged to increase the number of opportunities they are offering to young people.
All of which is good news for the industry. However, caution must prevail.
Whilst the longer term prospects for the wider IT sector look to be promising, there remains an acute shortage across a number of business-critical roles.
According to the UK Shortage Occupations List, Software Engineers and Developers and those with PHP, .Net and Development skills. There is also a shortage in the number of professionals with experience in Business Intelligence and SQL in addition to those with eCommerce and Java skills.
In fact, figures released in the latest monthly Report on Jobs by the Recruitment & Employment Confederation (REC) show that demand for IT skills rose from 63.7 to 64.0, prompting REC chief executive Kevin Green to suggest that “employers unable to find the skills and talent they need" will have to “look overseas.”
The long term prospects for the sector are encouraging and the news of more investment and more new jobs being created really shows that this is an industry which can only grow from strength to strength. The challenge facing many recruiters is how best cope with the skills shortages in the here and now and fulfill their clients' requirements.
The strength of our existing contract book combined with the slowly improving outlook for both contract and permanent IT placement underpins our confidence in the short and medium term prospects for the business and sector as a whole.
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