600,000 digital technology vacancies costing £63 billion a year

A reported 600,000 vacancies in digital technology is said to be costing the country £63 billion a year, according to report Skills Shortages in the UK Economy. The bulletin, published by education charity Edge Foundation, looks at the tech industry and the economic impact of the failure to encourage young people to study relevant subjects and up-skill existing workers. In the UK data centre sector, at least one in five key technical roles are filled by non-British staff and employers say that the prospect of Britain leaving the EU is already making it difficult to attract EU staff. The report’s author, Edge’s Director of Policy and Research, Olly Newton said, “This bulletin highlights the urgent need for digital and technical subjects to be at the core of our national curriculum to ensure a talent pipeline for the future. If things continue as they are, in a couple of years there will be 1 million tech vacancies in the UK and yet the number of students taking IT and computing GCSEs in schools has fallen by almost 15,000 (11%) in the last year alone. We are currently relying on the talent and skills of people coming from abroad, but clearly with Brexit on the horizon we need a new strategy.” The report also highlights the lack of female IT specialists, saying there needs to be clearer career pathways into digital technology for women. Skills Shortages in the UK Economy brings together the most current statistics and analysis of skills shortages in the UK.

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