Digital technology ‘is Scotland’s fast-growing sector’

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Scotland’s digital technology sector is forecast to grow twice as fast as the Scottish economy overall in the years to 2024, a new report has claimed.

Skills Development Scotland and the Scottish government-backed Digital Technologies Skills Group said it was the economy’s fastest-growing sector.

Their report found that it accounted for 5% of Scotland’s total business base.

It also suggested that the sector now employed 2% of the national workforce.

The report said that was creating “unprecedented demand” for digital skills.

It is estimated that Scotland has up to 12,800 tech job opportunities annually – a 16% increase on previous demand forecasts of 11,000.

According to the report, the number of tech businesses rose by 53% between 2010 and 2015 – almost three times as fast as businesses across Scotland as a whole (19%).

Micro-businesses, employing between one and 10 employees, accounted for 95% of firms in the sector.

The report also found that more than 60,000 people were employed in tech businesses across Scotland. The top three employment areas were Glasgow (29%), Edinburgh (23%) and West Lothian (9%).

‘Digital leader’

Reacting to the findings, Finance Secretary Derek Mackay said: “Scotland has a proud tradition as a digital leader and today this government is putting digital technology at the heart of everything we do, from reforming our public services to boosting digital skills and fostering our tech sector.

“In March this year we published our ambitious, refreshed, digital strategy which reflects our vision for this area by aiming to create 150,000 digital jobs, ensuring all premises have access to broadband speeds of at least 30Mbps by 2021, and integrating digital into schools and further education.

“Today’s report is good news and underlines the importance of digital skills to our economic and inclusive growth.”

Claire…

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