Tech Talent Shortage: Industry Leaders to Meet in Parliament to Discuss Digital Skills Crisis 

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Tech Talent Shortage

Industry leaders from the UK tech space have been invited to parliament for a special debate discussing the worsening digital skills and talent shortage in the country. 

The summit, entitled Closing the Tech Skills Gap, will take place on 28th March, with the aim of discussing strategies to combat the UK’s widening digital skills gap and worsening talent drought.   

It will be chaired by former business minister Dean Russel MP, and will include speakers from high-profile tech firms across the UK, including  Zoho UK, Bordeaux & Burgundy, and the Digital Poverty Alliance

Government research has shown that around 82 per cent of all jobs in the UK require digital skills as a key requirement for their position. 

But UK employers failed to fill one-third of their vacancies last year due to a lack of digital competence, highlighting the significant gap between digital skill and demand in the country. 

Alfie Dawson, founder of SaaS marketing agency Bordeaux & Burgundy is one of the business leaders set to speak at the summit. 

Mr Dawson commented: “Tech skills are a key driver in business growth, and it’s absolutely vital that we are upskilling and reskilling workers from all walks of life to meet this growing demand.” 

“From the classroom to the boardroom, sharing and developing key skills in areas such as SaaS, coding and cyber should be a top priority for businesses looking to accelerate growth and stay ahead of the competition.”

A barrier to innovation

The summit arrives at a period of great turmoil within the UK tech sector, which has struggled to deal with the worsening talent shortage that continues to plague the space. 

Following the pandemic and the ‘Great Resignation of 2021, many UK tech firms have struggled to find professionals to fill roles that require specialist digital skills. 

The industry accounts for 5.5 per cent of the UK economy, an estimated £82.7 billion, and is expected to bring an additional £41.5 billion to the economy by 2025.

But the tech talent shortage, paired with a decline in digital skills, is posing a huge challenge for the sector, with technological innovation outpacing the supply needed to apply such technology. 

To read more about the tech talent shortage, visit our Business Agility Page. 

According to TechUK's recent Digital Economy Monitor, 57 per cent of UK tech firms find the shortage of talent as one of the biggest challenges for their company.

The rapidly shrinking talent pool is leading to wage inflation across the sector, with tech firms introducing larger pay packers and bonuses to compete with corporate competitors. 

TechUK’s report also found that 65% of tech firms cite staff costs as their biggest cost increase from last year.

As job cuts across the industry demonstrate, it has become clear that this approach is not sustainable and does not necessarily guarantee the long-term retention of talent. 

Forging a future of UK tech talent 

A recent survey by TalentLMS and Workable revealed that 72 per cent of tech employees said they were considering leaving their jobs in 2022.  

While some pointed at limited opportunities for career progression, others blamed a non-flexible working environment and a toxic, ‘tech bro’ culture that prevents minority groups from entering and staying within the industry. 

Rather than focusing on attracting  talent through wage increases, experts say tech firms need to begin cultivating their own talent by providing a flexible working environment that allows people to thrive within the industry. 

To do this, it must welcome more talent for entry-level positions, and turn its attention to staff development and training rather than attracting new talent. 

Fortunately, there are signs of this already happening. An increasing number of British companies are hiring for entry-level tech roles to fill the ever-growing tech talent shortage according to the job search engine Adzuna.

In 2021, 15,000 entry-level roles were advertised on the site compared to 6,596 in 2021, demonstrating UK firms’ desire to developing a new generation of  tech talent for the future. 

Additionally, the industry must work in collaboration with the government and the education sector to build a long-term and diverse pipeline of talent, which includes welcoming workers with different skillsets. 

It is hoped the summit in March will help spark a conversation between the two sectors, and hopefully allow them to collaborate on combatting the talent pipeline shortage.

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