Claude Wangen - stock.adobe.com
Tech employment in Scotland’s digital sector has been increasing as professionals are increasingly attracted by better cost of living standards compared to the average sector pay in the UK.
According to data from the Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation analysed by job search engine Adzuna, IT vacancies represent 13% of all UK job vacancies. The proportion of roles is higher in Edinburgh and Glasgow, where tech jobs account for 30% and 28% respectively of all employment vacancies, the highest of any UK city.
Over the past two years, there has been an increase of 25% in the number of technology jobs in Edinburgh and Glasgow, the research noted. Roles requiring coding or software expertise can command higher than average salaries in the Scottish capital, with positions such as IT systems architects and project managers earning more in Edinburgh than across the UK, the study added, but non-technical roles with tech firms are also earning more than the national sector average.
“Scottish tech is booming right now, with more roles than many other parts of the country available,” said digital secretary Nadine Dorries. “It’s fantastic to see how confidence in UK tech is translating into exciting opportunities nationwide.”
Another factor attracting tech professionals to Scotland is the cost of living versus salary for tech roles. According to the study, the average pay within the tech sector in Glasgow is £38,500, compared with £29,000 for all industries, and around 33% of all tech jobs in the city are in non-technical roles. On the other hand, Edinburgh has some of the highest salaries for UK tech – £41,250, second only to London’s top range of £55,000.
The growth in tech employment in Scotland seen of late is driven by local tech startups and scaleups, which collectively employ 135,000 people, making it the third-highest tech hub in the UK after the South East and London. Scottish tech firms have raised £446m in venture capital funding so far this year, a record amount so far for the country, according to the Office of the Secretary of State for Scotland and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport.
Scotland has created three unicorns – companies worth more than £1bn – so far: Edinburgh-based metasearch engine Skyscanner, sports betting tech firm FanDuel and consumer investment platform Interactive Investor, which is due to list on the public markets later this year.
Earlier this year, the Scottish government published a new digital strategy, aiming to “forge” the country’s future in a digital world. The plan aims to address issues such as the local skills shortage, which is restricting growth in the digital sector and the wider economy.
In May 2020, the government launched a short-term review of Scotland’s tech sector, which set out a series of recommendations on how to support an innovation ecosystem, and subsequent actions including the creation of five technology hubs to support startups in the country and a goal to support 300 startups by 2025.