How is the Digital Skills Gap Affecting Recruitment? - Part I

We were delighted to be approached by Interactive Scotland to provide our opinions on how the Digital Shortage is impacting recruitment within Scotland. This is the first of our two part blog, initially featuring our MD Gordon Brown.

 

Digital skills supply and demand

“It is widely known that Scotland is facing a challenging time within the Digital industry however, from a recruitment perspective, there isn’t a candidate decrease but more of an awareness increase. By this I mean Scotland isn’t producing fewer skilled people than before, but rather, our clients are becoming more aware of the need for digital operations and an online presence, so realise they need to recruit accordingly. As a result, we are now seeing a sudden increase in the volume of people needed to fill the gaps due to this digital transformation.

Education in digital

We have already seen the education industry reacting to the changing landscape of the digital world with the likes of coding academies such as CodeClan opening up as well as universities starting Digital Marketing courses. People need to be aware though, it can be challenging to stay ahead of the game and educate in an industry that is continually adapting and renewing itself. I am passionate about nurturing emerging talent and to prove this, at Nine Twenty for example, we currently have four employees on training programmes through QA Apprenticeships - two of these focusing entirely on Digital Marketing. We’ve recognised that investing in your people is the way forward in a marketplace that is already falling short on skills. Equally, we encourage our clients to upskill staff where possible as we know that training and development opportunities are now legitimate employee benefits.

Digital recruitment from within

A number of our clients are looking to move their digital control internally, a skill which was previously outsourced. I can see the value in this from a management perspective as well as owning your own intellectual property and data however, we cannot deny that there will always be a need for external digital agencies. Without huge budgets, in-house clients are unlikely to manage all aspects of their Marketing and Technology requirements with ease. We’ve seen a large number of digital agencies across the central belt recruiting for all types of digital roles, so I predict we will see even more growth for digital agencies as they seek to address this skills shortage.

Nine Twenty supported the Scottish Technology Industry Survey at the tail end of 2015 and the figures speak for themselves:

  • 87% of tech businesses expect an increase in sales over the next 12 months
  • 83% of these businesses expect to increase staff over this period
  • 74% are likely to recruit graduates

There is no question that this level of growth will need to be supported by Digital strategies and candidates with solid digital knowledge so while Scottish businesses have great plans, they are going to face challenges in implementing these if they cannot attract and retain the right candidates.”

 

Gordon has been recruiting for over 15 years within the Technology market place and as a board member for Scotland IS; he is well placed to give an overview of the current market place.