November 24, 2014

Tech City is struggling with skills shortage

Writing in the Guardian, Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech City UK said that the rapid progress of Britain’s digital industry would be slowed due to a lack of necessary skills within the country’s workforce.

He said that the UK was “creating digital jobs faster than we can fill them” and that despite programmes to teach digital skills in schools, current graduates lacked the practical knowledge required for roles.

In particular he highlighted the lack of talented coders, web developers, product managers and data scientists or as he put it: “the entrepreneurial thinkers who will be the engine of the UK’s economy.”

He said that three things needed to change in order for Britain to move forward. Firstly the UK needs to foster an entrepreneurial culture with a ‘can-do’ attitude able to inspire the next generation of digital pioneers.

Secondly, the country needs to recognise an aptitude for problem solving necessary in the tech sector and finally he added that the nation needed to democratise access to all tech-related skills.

“More needs to be done to generate the scale required to fuel the industry,” he added.

However, he isn’t the only person to highlight this issue. Last month, a group called, Tech London Advocates (TLA), that include BT boss, Gavin Patterson, Facebook’s EMEA vice president, Nicola Mendelsohn and co-founder, Martha Lane Fox, said universities need to do more to encourage people to take up the skills needed by the UK’s Tech Sector.

TLA founder Russ Shaw said: “We need to get the message back to universities so that they look at where London’s going over the next 15 to 20 years, and realise we need to produce more graduates that have great digital skills and technology skills.”

The Government has already responded to these calls from business leaders and promised to invest millions of pounds in to teaching coding at schools, so that more people in the future will be able to enter the tech sector, but this may be too little too late, as the UK’s tech sector continues to be constrained by a lack of talent.

Many firms are now turning to other countries to find the talent they need, which has created a new problem in the form of visa requests, which continue to be suffocated by red-tape.

At Royds we are committed to helping a wide range of start-ups and have particular experience with the tech sector, including assisting in applications to obtain visas for skilled workers.

To find more about the services our commercial law team can provide, please contact John North or Claus Andersen.

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