Scottish workforce to grow by 7.2% over next decade

Almost 6% of all Scottish workers are in jobs that didn’t exist in 1990, according to a report from PwC.

PwC’s latest UK Economic Outlook (UKEO) said they range from software engineers and database administrators to programmers and IT support workers.

In London, close to one-in-ten workers are employed in these new digital jobs, followed by Scotland, East Anglia, Yorkshire and the South-West with around 5.8%.

The report also reveals that Scotland is ahead of some of the other regions like parts of the North of England, Manchester, Wales and Merseyside.

The research was prepared in association with Dr Carl Benedikt Frey, of the Oxford Martin Programme at Oxford University.

It highlights a shift in the UK workforce towards highly skilled professional and technical roles linked to overall economic performance in major UK regions and cities.

What the research calls ‘skilled cities’ have tended to show stronger employment growth and a healthier trend in unemployment rates since 2005 and a higher rate of new business creation.

The UKEO research says that the best preforming regions can expect the overall workforce to grow, reflecting their ‘skilled cities’ status, with the forecast suggesting that the Scottish workforce should grow by 7.2% over the next decade.

This is above the UK regional average of 6% and the fifth largest growth outside of London.

Our research notes that Stanford alumni have created around 40,000 companies and over five million jobs in the US.  What is to stop leading universities in Scotland and the UK securing similar success as dynamic catalysts for innovation and growth?

The forecast also reveals that the former Strathclyde region alone is expected to grow by 5.5% – a trend, the report suggests, that reflects the regeneration in the area and the Glasgow City Deal status to boost economic growth.

The research into the rise of the digital job says that the new types of job are in categories linked to digital technologies such as computer software engineers (80% of employees now doing types of jobs that did not exist in 1990); database administrators (79%); information systems managers (77%); and computer programmers (71%).

However, there is concern over a ‘north-south digital divide’ with London continuing to be the driver of new  job creation, where total employment across all sectors in Central London is projected to grow by 25% over the next decade, with 13% projected for Inner London – substantially above the average of 5.8% for the UK regions, excluding London and the South-East.

Paul Brewer, head of government and public sector at PwC in Scotland, said there was a role for government and other institutions to co-ordinate activity and support clusters of skilled occupations and industries outside London.

“Many Scottish Enterprise, local authority and City region investment programmes have sought to advance these objectives in recent years,” he said.

“Universities also have a vital role in establishing successful digital hubs. Edinburgh, for instance, is one of six UK universities to rank in the top 10 for computer science outside of London, with others including Southampton, Cambridge, and Manchester.

 “Our research notes that Stanford alumni have created around 40,000 companies and over five million jobs in the US.  What is to stop leading universities in Scotland and the UK securing similar success as dynamic catalysts for innovation and growth?”

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