More than a fifth of Edinburgh and Glasgow workforce employed in digital economy jobs

More than a fifth of the workforce in Edinburgh and Glasgow is now employed in digital technology, according to new data analysed by Tech Nation for the Government’s Digital Economy Council ahead of London Tech Week.

More than a fifth of Edinburgh and Glasgow workforce employed in digital economy jobs

The data has also revealed that 69,000 jobs in digital tech were advertised in the two cities during 2019, making the tech sector one of the biggest employers in Scotland’s biggest cities. 

Scotland’s tech sector has been one of the strongest in the country, outside London and the South East, for several years now and showing encouraging signs of recovery in recent weeks with hiring announcements from several companies over the summer. Amazon said last week that it would create hundreds of new roles in Fife and Dundee. 

This is in line with the national trend where the number of vacancies advertised in the digital tech sector climbed by 36% in the last two months (7th June - 9th August 2020), as tech companies gained in confidence after the challenges of lockdown. 

During 2019, more than 113,274 vacancies were advertised in digital tech positions across Scotland. Just under half of these were in Edinburgh and Glasgow. According to jobs website Adzuna, 16.5% of advertised roles in Scotland are now in the tech sector. Demand for particular skills, eg engineer in Edinburgh has jumped by a quarter while Glasgow has seen particularly strong demand for development operations engineers and engineers, up by 85% and 84% respectively. 

Ahead of lockdown, the digital tech sector was consistently advertising over 150,000 jobs a week in the first three months of the year, according to Adzuna. Vacancies fell in line with all other sectors of the economy when the UK’s lockdown began, but have since recovered to stand at 90,297 by the week commencing 9th August. Tech is the UK sector posting the highest number of vacancies, after healthcare.

The figures come from a Bright Tech Future report on jobs and skills in the nation’s tech sector, to be published next month. Analysis from Tech Nation of Adzuna data, cross-referenced with ONS figures, shows the extent to which tech created job vacancies right across the UK in 2019 and into 2020.

The report will show that demand for certain skills - eg full stack developer - has increased right across the UK, while software developer is the most advertised role in 2019 (the last year figures are available for). Increased remote working will mean that roles become less location specific - offering the opportunity for people living in regions across the country to have access to high-paid, quality roles. 

Over the past two years, jobs across the digital tech sector have increased by 40% and it now employs 2.93 million people. The digital tech workforce now accounts for 9% of the UK’s total workforce and in 2019 comprised over 1m people with non-tech skills, for example an accountant, working in digital tech and 1.9m with digital tech skills employed in a variety of occupations. The number of jobs advertised in tech in 2019 outweighed several other sectors, including legal jobs (by 7x), manufacturing (by 8x), and finance and accounting (by 2.7x). 

The median salary for digital tech roles across the UK in 2019 was £39,000. But average salaries range from £28,500 in the lower quartile to £55,000 in the upper quartile. Edinburgh’ s median salary is £44,938, while Glasgow’s is £40,000 compared with a median salary of £30,000 across all roles.

Edinburgh’s median salary is the highest outside London, where the median digital tech salary in 2019 was £55,000, growing 3% from £53,296 the previous year. 

Factoring in the cost of living, cities outside London can have significant attractions from an employment perspective. Edinburgh and Glasgow are the third and fourth best value place in the UK for someone working in tech to live and work. For Data Scientist and Infrastructure Engineer roles, Edinburgh was more attractive than London when living costs are taken into account.

Oliver Dowden, digital secretary, said: “These new figures demonstrate the strength and depth of our tech sector as an engine of job creation kickstarting our economy as we emerge from the pandemic.

“We are a nation of innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors, and technology will underpin our infrastructure revolution of national renewal to unite and level up the UK. This government is backing people to succeed by investing heavily in cutting-edge research, digital skills and digital infrastructure to support our economic recovery.”

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