Tech North and EY have launched the Northern Digital Jobs Strategy Report, a series of recommendations and initiatives which aim tackle the digital skills crisis in the North of England. The report proposed eight practical recommendations designed to increase the supply of digital tech talent. The recommendations were approved at the Digital Jobs Action Summit – which brought together stakeholders from the public and private sectors in a bid to propose solutions to the North’s skills gap. The eight recommendations included initiatives for local, regional and national action such as: the creation of a Northern Digital Skills Network; the creation of a Northern Digital Jobs Portal and a Northern digital jobs awareness campaign. Tech North will also be launching a new platform that will accurately measure the ‘digital skills gap’ by skillset, the type of opportunity and the number of vacancies in order to supplement their recommendations.
In the past three years, there have been 712,750 vacancies requiring digital skill in the North. Indeed, across the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, demand for digital tech workers remains higher than for workers in any other sector. Workers in the industry are also far better paid, receiving on average 48% higher wages. The North is therefore unsurprisingly home to seven of the most cost-effective places for digital tech workers to reside in terms of cost of living and salaries offered. However, 58% of digital companies in the North struggle to find ‘talent’ and advised this is a key business challenge – the figure is 5% lower in London. This challenge will be further exacerbated by Brexit – over a third of businesses in the North advise Brexit will make it harder for them to attract people. It is clear that focused investment in technology skills is key to improving the North’s trajectory in the coming years.