Sam Hameed is co-founder and managing director of SPG Resourcing, SPG Resourcing is a technology talent advisory business with offices in both Leeds and Newcastle. It provides interim and permanent technology resources to a wide range of businesses.
With a new budget looming, there will no doubt be a wave of industry bodies arguing the case for their sector with demands for more investment and tax breaks.
For those of us that work in technology, it can feel like our woes are often forgotten in all the noise. It’s a sector that reached a combined market value of $1 trillion last year and employs 3 million, according to government figures.
The technology sector is an important contributor to the UK economy. It is a growing and innovative industry that generates significant economic activity and job creation. It is also an essential source of exports for the UK. According to government data, the UK’s digital exports were worth £57 billion in 2020, representing around 16% of the country’s total exports.
While government handouts are always welcome, what the technology sector really needs is people. A strong pipeline of talent that reaches from schools to universities and into the thousands of companies, large and small, that are a key driver of the economy.
A shortage of talent is driving up salaries and choking growth in a sector that is straining at the leash to grow. Many firms have launched academies to train the people they need, which is to be applauded. But it doesn’t address the structural issues causing chronic shortages of people.
If you speak to young people taking their GCSEs and A levels, it is rare to find one considering a career in technology. An industry that offers competitive salaries, excellent career opportunities and a strong track record of growth should be at the top of every career advisor’s list.
The government can act quickly to make a big difference in the technology sector. Put tech front and centre in students’ minds when they are choosing the subjects they want to study and the careers they want to pursue.
Reaching a $1 trillion valuation means the UK is only the third nation after the US and China to do so. As a result, the UK tech sector is valued more than twice as much as that of Germany ($467.2 billion) and three times as much as that of France ($307.5 billion), and it continues to outpace its European counterparts in terms of total funding, unicorns, and startup numbers.
The UK has created nearly 400 high-growth companies since 2000, totalling more than $250 million. It includes 237 futurecorns, rapidly expanding companies expected to overtake unicorns as the most valuable companies in the coming years and 144 unicorns, or businesses valued at $1 billion or more.
The tech sector is characterised by high levels of productivity, which will help boost overall economic performance and living standards.
Talent is critical to the success of the technology sector. With a government so focused on growing the economy, it seems obvious that helping one of its star sectors get the people they need should be a top priority.