Digital skills gap widens on finance sector demand

Be-IT Resourcing managing director Gareth Biggerstaff
Be-IT Resourcing managing director Gareth Biggerstaff
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The recovery in Scotland’s financial services sector risks creating a wider digital skills gap, according to the boss of an Edinburgh recruitment firm.

Gareth Biggerstaff, managing director of Be-IT Resourcing, said he has witnessed a “distinct upturn” in the hiring demands of firms within the banking and investment management sectors.

“That will add even more pressure to the digital and IT skills market in Scotland, which is already stressed to breaking point within some skillsets,” he said.

“Supply and demand is already out of kilter as the banks, investment houses, fund managers realise that technology is key.”

Biggerstaff, who is planning to open offices in London and Germany over the next 12 months, added: “There is a requirement for 7,000 to 8,000 technicians per annum. Our universities are pumping out up to 2,500 a year. So we are already facing a shortfall in the region of 5,000 a year.”

His warning came the day after a report revealed that technology professionals working in Edinburgh’s “big data” arena command the highest IT salaries in the UK.

The Tech Cities Job Watch study by Experis, part of global recruitment giant Manpower, found the average permanent salary in Edinburgh for those working in big data – which enables clients to delve into the mountains of information generated by their business in a bid to identify trends and improve their bottom line – was £69,733 in the third quarter of 2015, ahead of London at £65,682 and higher than the UK average of £62,809.

Glasgow was highlighted as a “standout city” in the report, advertising for almost twice as many permanent roles in IT as in the previous quarter. This increase was attributed to “the financial services sector continuing to invest heavily in digital transformation projects in the city”.