Demand to Surge for Digital Skills Jobs in Leeds
The Leeds City Region has the largest digital sector outside of London, employing nearly 45,000 people. There are more than 1,300 technology companies employing specialist software developers, software testers, business analysts, data warehousing and business intelligence specialists, from apprentices to senior IT professionals.
The IT sector in the City is forecasted to grow by 15% over the next decade, equating to around 4,000 additional jobs, according to the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP). The sector has one of the fastest forecast rates of growth.
The top digital job titles and specialist skills
Across the full labour market, digital skills have been highlighted as an area of particularly high demand. For example, amongst the top ten higher skilled job titles in Leeds include:
- Business Analyst
- .Net Developer
- Java Software Developer
Amongst the top specialist skills for higher level jobs include:
- Project Management
- Microsoft C#
Demand for digital skills is significant across a wide range of sectors, not just within IT.
Skills shortages in tech
“The IT job market is continuing to suffer due to a lack of candidates with the required skills, qualifications and experience.
“From 2013 to 2015, the number of skill shortages tripled. This is versus an increase of 50% in the number of employer vacancies within the City. As the economy continues to develop, employers are finding it increasingly challenging to recruit people with the required skills.”
Research undertaken within Yorkshire and the Humber indicates that the highest skills shortages are in:
- Science, research, engineering and technology professionals
- Science, engineering and technology associate professionals
- Skilled metal, electrical and electronic trades.
Each of these groups displays a whopping shortage density of over 40% across the region. National data does demonstrate that this shortage is historical and that there is a need for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills.
Research suggests that digital skills are low and in decline:
“At national level, concerns have been expressed about the relevance of some computer science provision and its relevance to the needs of employers and this may be a contributing factor.”
Employment in high-skilled management, professional and associate professional occupations are projected to grow three times as quickly as the average. This is encouraging for the regional economy, strengthening its strong digital, manufacturing, financial and professional services sectors.
Help is at hand
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Leeds performs well on apprenticeship take-up
In brief, this is how the Leeds City Region has performed:
- 19% of employers in the region offer apprenticeships which is higher than the national average
- advanced apprenticeships have seen extensive annual growth of 25%
- Higher Apprenticeships starts have doubled
For the region to continue to develop as well as it has, the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership is working in partnership with schools and local businesses in order to raise the profile of apprenticeships and the career benefits they bring.
Skills challenges facing the Leeds City Region
The region’s labour force is becoming better qualified but research shows that a quarter of the adult population have no or very few qualifications. Businesses are being encouraged to address the skills shortages by upskilling their staff and investing in training.
Full Labour Market Analysis Report – click here