Demand for technology skills shows strong growth in Glasgow and Edinburgh, Accenture finds

Michelle Hawkins

Scotland also facing strong competition for skilled technology professionals

DEMAND for technology professionals has jumped more than seven-fold in Glasgow and more than five-fold in Edinburgh during the past year, but Scotland faces fierce competition from other regions to secure the right technology skills, according to the latest U.K. Tech Talent Tracker from Accenture (NYSE: ACN).  

The tracker, which analyses LinkedIn’s Professional Network data, finds that demand for technology professionals has increased in every region across the U.K from last year, as the technology jobs market recovers from the pandemic.

London continues to have the lion’s share of the U.K.’s open technology roles, at 68,000, with demand increasing by 89% from last year. However, the findings show there is sizeable potential for cities outside London to become technology hubs in the future, with growth in demand in Scotland rising substantially. Edinburgh has over 11,200 open technology roles, up five-fold in 12 months, while Glasgow is catching up rapidly, with demand up seven-fold to more than 10,100 roles.

The research also showed slower growth in the number of people with technology skills in Scottish cities compared with other UK regions outside London. Glasgow experienced Scotland’s highest growth in technology professionals, up 6% in the past year, while Edinburgh saw 3% growth. This compared with stronger growth in other UK cities, including Manchester (up 25%), Oxford (up 24%) and Cardiff (up 9%).

Michelle Hawkins, Managing Director for Accenture Scotland said, “The research shows that Glasgow and Edinburgh are competing strongly for a share of UK-wide investment in new technology roles as the job market bounces back from the pandemic.

“This is encouraging, but as organisations that have invested in technology during the pandemic now look for the best pools of talented professionals with the right tech and software engineering skills, Scotland needs to work hard to compete with other fast-growing UK regions.”

As UK-wide demand increases for emerging technology in business and investment pours into start-ups, Glasgow saw particularly strong growth for people with blockchain skills (up 33%), AI (29%) and data analytics (17%). Edinburgh’s talent pool was also boosted by strong growth in blockchain (27%) and AI (26%), as well as quantum computing (20%).

Michelle Hawkins added: “A change in lifestyles and greater flexibility has allowed many businesses across the country to discover exciting new pools of technology talent. Many organisations have invested in technology during the pandemic and will continue looking for professionals to help them embrace the next wave of change with more emerging technologies, such as cloud, extended reality and quantum computing, and rapidly emerging trends such as the metaverse.

“It’s positive Scottish cities are attracting new talent in areas like blockchain and AI, but we also need to ensure that our own schools, colleges and universities are focused on producing the next generation of technology professionals.”

Accenture plans to create 3,000 new technology jobs in the U.K. over the next three years. Half of the roles will be based outside of London, expanding Accenture’s presence in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Newcastle, Manchester and Leeds. The new roles are being driven by increased client demand for services in platforms, cloud engineering, cybersecurity, data and intelligent operations.

Developed by Accenture Research, the Accenture UK Tech Talent Tracker queried emerging technology keywords on the LinkedIn Professional Network in the last week of January 2022.

The tracker assesses skills of both existing roles and open positions, querying for nine technologies: data analytics, artificial intelligence, extended reality, blockchain, quantum computing, cyber security, robotics, cloud computing, and ethical/responsible technology.

The research covered all of the UK, with a focus on the following cities: London, Manchester, Edinburgh, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow, Cardiff, Brighton, Cambridge, Birmingham, Leeds, Oxford and Newcastle.  

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