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Scottish tech is “booming”,  says new digital secretary
Digital secretary Nadine Dorries. Picture by Chris McAndrew, UK Parliament/Supplied
Business & Economy

Scottish tech is “booming”, says new digital secretary 

The Scottish technology sector is “booming” according to the UK government’s digital secretary, who has pledged to continue to invest in tech skills north of the border.

Nadine Dorries, the new secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport, made the comment as new research shows Edinburgh has the highest proportion of tech vacancies – 30% – of any UK city.

New figures released today that show tech roles in Glasgow and Edinburgh have increased by more than a quarter in the past two years, demonstrating some of the highest growth in the whole of the UK.

According to data analysed by smarter job search engine Adzuna for the UK’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation, IT-related vacancies now make up 13% of all UK job vacancies. In Edinburgh and Glasgow, tech jobs make up an even higher proportion of roles – up 30% and 28% respectively – as companies seek to find talented staff to help them expand and grow following the Covid-19 pandemic.

Strong employee demand for jobs isn’t only confined to the tech sector, with general vacancies increasing by 11.2% on average in Scotland month on month throughout 2021 to 46,990 in June. 

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 startups and scaleups collectively employ 135,000 people, the third-highest in the UK after the South East and London. The strength of the sector in Scotland is also translating into high salary offers.

Edinburgh boasts some of the highest salaries for the UK tech industry. The median digital tech salary in the city is £41,250, second only to London’s top range of £55,000. Technical and non-technical staff can both excel in the city, with the average salary for roles including IT system architects and project managers higher in Edinburgh 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% of all tech jobs in the city are in non-technical roles.  

2021 is proving to be a record year for venture capital investment across the UK. Tech companies have raised £13.5 billion in the first half of this year, overtaking 2020’s investment of £11 billion. In Scotland, tech companies have raised £446 million, a record year. 

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, with a higher number of opportunities and salaries compared to other cities. Glasgow is also making a name for itself as a destination for tech workers, with some of the best cost of living standards compared to the median tech salary of the whole UK. 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.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “There has been an explosion in demand for skilled tech talent in Edinburgh and Glasgow over the past few months with companies across all industries increasing their hiring for specialist tech roles from software developers to systems architects. Non-tech roles that are important for the delivery of tech products have also been increasing, with project managers in particular able to command high salaries in Edinburgh. We look forward to seeing how this trend develops as businesses continue to recover from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.” 

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