Scots tech sector grows to £4.9bn, 100,000 jobs

New research confirms that Scotland’s tech industry is one of the fastest growing in the country, contributing £4.9 billion to the Scottish economy and supporting almost 100,000 jobs.

The Skills Development Scotland (SDS) report also forecasts that the tech sector will be the second fastest growing industry in Scotland between now and 2029 — beaten only by childcare services.

“Scotland’s Digital Technologies 2019” also reports the number of people needed to support the tech industry has increased, with more than 13,000 jobs available each year in Scotland.

Further, a typical tech job salary is 26% higher than the Scottish average — at roughly £36,900 compared to £29,200 — and is also rising faster than other salaries (15% versus 11%).

Despite the positive news, SDS said more still needs to be done to address the skills gap, particularly in the areas of equality and education.

The report said that although the proportion of women in tech roles increased from 18% to 23% in the three years between 2015 and 2018, there is still a long way to go to address a serious gender imbalance.

In education, although there has a been a 20% increase in students studying computer science at University, there has been a 12% decline in pupils taking the subject at school.

Claire Gillespie of Skills Development Scotland said: “There has been a shift from the traditional role of tech as a business support function to being an integral and fundamental part of just doing business.

“Although this report focuses mostly on the tech companies, the reality is digital skills are now vital for every organisation, across the entire economy.”

“The career opportunities are phenomenal, exciting and hugely rewarding, especially in fast paced sectors like fintech, digital health, gaming and even the digital transformation of the public sector.”

Gillespie added: “The type of qualifications on offer in schools have been widening.

“Apprenticeships, particularly Foundation Apprentices, offer a great alternative to traditional academic routes for youngsters, as do the National Progression Awards.

“Over 1,700 pupils undertook NPAs in computer games development last year, and another 800 did the cyber security NPA.

“And of course maths is a particularly good way of getting into computing related work.

“There were more than 80,000 maths passes last year.

“So although the decline in computer science uptake is concerning, there are plenty of other options and opportunities for pupils interested in careers in digital technology.”