The growing technology industry in Scotland

Technology in the hands

If you are looking for openings in technology, whether as a career or even as an investor, then Scotland provides a more than viable opportunity. The technology industry is experiencing a growth spurt in Scotland, helped in no small part by a political emphasis on digital innovation as well as the availability of a talent pool among a tech-savvy population.

Research by ScotlandIS, the country’s trade body, has found that there are 80,000 people employed in the Scottish technology industry. That is one in every 25 workers in the country. The 2015 Scottish Technological Industry Survey, from ScotlandIS, highlighted the more than 1,000 workplaces across the IT and telecoms sector in the country. The survey also found that 83 per cent of companies intend hiring additional staff over the next year, and that three quarters of those workplaces are predicting that they will bring in additional numbers of graduates – an 8 per cent rise on the figure from the 2014 survey.

In Edinburgh, at least, a big part of the technology industry success story is focused on the business-to-business sector, with companies engaged in selling tech products and systems to a whole variety of customers.

Recruitment is a continuing challenge for companies in the technology industry, and in the business-to-business segment, salesforce recruitment is an imperative, emphasising in the process that technology as an industry offers career opportunities in more than just research and development and programming.

Working in the technology sector represents a huge opportunity for Scotland’s young people, but if you are hoping for a career in this area, then make sure you take more than a passing interest in subjects in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Home-grown talent is a key element to any future growth in Scotland’s technology sector.

The Scottish Government also needs to play its part in encouraging students to study STEM subjects, and industry players have their role to play in ensuring that the needs of the technology sector are kept to the fore in economic policy decision-making. Tax incentives, a significant stimulus in the growth in the technology sector in the Republic of Ireland, could be used in Scotland to encourage greater inward investment in the area. Likewise, the authorities in the devolved Scottish administration need to ensure that industry-critical infrastructure, especially broadband availability, is kept up to date.

To be fair to all concerned, Scotland must be doing something right. Growth across the technology industry in Scotland has, in the past five years, been surpassed only by London, according to the KPMG/Markit Tech Monitor. For the period 2010 to 2015, growth among technology enterprises was 43.4 per cent in Scotland, with London showing growth of 54.6 per cent.

The debate around Scottish independence has fed into a broader trend toward Scottish self- sustainability and the need to cultivate specifically regional economic growth. At the same time, Scotland recognises that economic growth on a local scale requires a global perspective, and what better way to link Scotland and its economic prospects with global opportunities than technology, an industry with a universal reach?

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