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Scottish IT and digital businesses look elsewhere due to skills shortage

Karl Flinders

Scottish IT and digital businesses are struggling to fill job vacancies as a result of increasing demand, with over half needing to recruit from outside Scotland, according to a survey from Scottish trade body ScotlandIS.

The 2013 Scottish Technology Industry Survey, commissioned by ScotlandIS and technology specialist 9-20 recruitment, found that the difficulty of finding the right people is a barrier to further growth.

A total of 70% of businesses that responded to the survey said they were looking for more staff, which was 10% higher than the same survey in last year. Scotland's IT and digital sector is expected to require 45,000 new professionals in the next five years.

Polly Purvis, executive director of ScotlandIS, said businesses are trying to grow and there is “significant pent-up demand for skilled people in the digital technologies industry.”

“There’s an increasing buzz about the industry as business and government transform their operations through the smart application of technology.  We’re seeing growing confidence across the industry, from start ups to the growing number of Scottish digital technology businesses carving out export markets around the world.”

The survey found that software and web development skills are in the greatest demand (66%). It also revealed that graduates are now one of the categories of staff most in demand at 58%.

But the survey also revealed that a lack of local talent is forcing 52% of employers to look outside Scotland of all respondents reporting they will need to recruit people from outside Scotland.

"Start ups like ours are having a challenging time finding qualified software developers. Start ups need to focus on a lean development environment so we can prototype cheaply and get to market fast. The skills needed in the lean development environment such as Ruby coding are in particularly short supply," said Steven Drost, CEO at start up Stipso.


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