Scotland’s digital sector 'booming' as tech roles soar

Scotland’s tech scene has been described as “booming” following new figures out today showing that tech roles in Edinburgh and Glasgow have increased by more than a quarter in the past two years – showing some of the highest growth in the UK.

Some 13 per cent of all UK job vacancies are IT-related, according to data analysed by job search engine Adzuna for the UK’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation.

In Edinburgh and Glasgow, tech jobs comprise an even higher proportion of roles – up 30 per cent and 28 per cent respectively – as companies seek talented staff to help them expand following the Covid-19 pandemic. Moreover, overall vacancies increased by 11.2 per cent on average north of the Border month on month throughout 2021 to 46,990 in June.

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Scotland has been branded a hotspot in the UK's fast-growing tech sector. Picture: Andy Buchanan/AFP via Getty Images.

The UK’s Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Scottish tech is booming and this thriving sector is creating exciting opportunities up and down the country.

“The UK government is determined to see this success continue and is investing heavily to help people in Scotland get the skills they need to seize the opportunities on offer and build back better from the pandemic.”

Scottish tech start-ups and scale-ups have been found to collectively employ 135,000 people, the third-highest amount in the UK after the South-east and London. Additionally, the median digital tech salary in Edinburgh is £41,250, second only to London’s top range of £55,000. Technical and non-technical staff can both excel in the Scottish capital, with the average salary for roles including IT system architects and project managers higher than across the UK.

Meanwhile, Glasgow is ranked third in the UK for the cost of living versus salary for tech roles. The median digital tech salary in Glasgow is £38,500 compared to £29,000 for all industries, and around 33 per cent of all tech jobs in the city are in non-technical roles.

Furthermore, 2021 is proving to be a record year for venture-capital investment across the UK, and in Scotland tech companies have raised £446 million, the highest number so far.

Fundraisers

Fintech and health tech continue to be the biggest sectors for fundraising in the UK and Scotland. Kirkcaldy-based fintech Paysend earlier this year raised £90.5m in Series B funding, while Amphista Therapeutics, a biotech company based in Motherwell, has raised £38m in 2021. Both companies are considered “futurecorns” – future “unicorns” expected to be worth $1 billion (£733,000) or more in the next few years.

Dr George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, said Edinburgh is proving to be one of the fastest-growing tech cities in the UK, while Glasgow is also establishing itself as a destination for tech workers. “With scaling companies in sectors such as fintech and health tech, Scotland’s tech sector is only expected to grow in the next few years.”

Meanwhile, a similar survey has found that demand for tech professionals in Scotland increased by 25 per cent in six months – ahead of the 10 per cent rise across the UK – according to the latest UK Tech Talent Tracker from Accenture.

Edinburgh saw the biggest growth of all UK cities, with open roles growing by more than half, while there was a jump of a third in Glasgow. Michelle Hawkins, MD for Accenture in Scotland, deemed the latest figures “very encouraging”.

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