Digital sector accounts for one in five workers in Scotland’s major cities

Stats show healthy tech industry blossoming in Edinburgh and Glasgow

A view of Glasgow from the city’s Queens Park    Credit: John Lindie/CC BY 2.0

More than a fifth of the workforce in Edinburgh and Glasgow now work in the digital sector, new data has revealed.

In Edinburgh, 23% of workers are in digital, while in Glasgow it is 22%.

More than 69,000 tech jobs were advertised across the two cities in 2019, and Edinburgh’s median salary for tech roles is the highest in the UK outside London at £44,938.

The figures come from the Bright Tech Future report on jobs and skills in the tech sector, to be published next month.

It is based on analysis of data from the Adzuna jobs site cross-referenced with ONS figures.

Before lockdown the tech sector was advertising 150,000 jobs a week in the first three months of the year, according to data from Adzuna. Vacancies fell when lockdown began, but have since recovered to stand at 90,297 by the week of 9 August.

The number of vacancies advertised in the digital tech sector climbed by 36 % from the beginning of June to the beginning of August.

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Tech is the UK sector posting the highest number of vacancies, after healthcare.

Over the past two years, jobs across the digital tech sector have increased by 40% and it now employs 2.93 million people and accounts for nine per cent of the UK’s total workforce. 

Edinburgh and Glasgow are two of nine cities outside London that now have more than a fifth of the workforce employed in tech.

During 2019 more than 113,274 vacancies were advertised for digital positions across Scotland. Just under half of these were in one of the two biggest cities in the country.

According to Adzuna data, 16.5% of advertised roles in Scotland are now in the tech sector.

The role of software developer has remained in the top five most sought-after roles across UK cities, and front-end developers are among the top 10 most-advertised jobs in Glasgow and Edinburgh. 

Advertised vacancies for cloud skills in the UK have grown by 22% since 2018, while AI and cybersecurity respectively grew by 44% and 22% in 2019 year-on-year. There has also been growth in opportunities involving expertise in data ethics, up 31%.

Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech Nation: “For almost a decade the UK’s tech sector has been on a steady growth path, creating more start-ups and scale-ups and attracting more venture capital investment each year. The pandemic threatened that trajectory and hit some parts of the tech sector, as well as non-tech industries extremely hard. However, tech companies have, in the last few weeks, found the confidence to begin hiring again. 

“With digital adoption accelerating in every area of our lives, it looks likely that the tech sector will continue to be one of the best sources of new jobs this year and can provide the jobs of the future, right across the country.”

Minister for Scotland Iain Stewart added: “It is fantastic to see our multi-billion-pound digital tech sector not only continue to thrive but make a vital contribution to economic recovery as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic. This report shows Scotland is a competitive choice for both companies and individuals creating high-quality, well-paid jobs. We are at the forefront in pushing the boundaries in areas such as artificial intelligence, big data, cybersecurity, fintech and gaming. The UK government is proud to champion the digital tech sector and will continue to support its growth in Scotland.”


Sam Trendall

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