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The rising competition for global technology talent.

Policymakers worldwide continue to focus on investment and immigration measures to attract and retain the best talent in the digital industry.


According to a recent study from LinkedIn, 150 million new technology jobs will develop worldwide over the next five years. The question is, who will fill these job opportunities as competition for talent continues to grow? According to management consultancy Korn Ferry, there will be a global shortage of over 85 million technology professionals, equating to an annual loss of $8.5 trillion in revenue every year by 2030.




Global studies suggest economies in countries such as Brazil, Indonesia and Japan could experience shortages of over 18 million employees each. Global organisational consultancy firm Korn Ferry believes the issue concerned here focuses on supply and demand. Businesses are investing and hiring more, but there is still a lack of high-skilled technology workers.


The IBM 2021 ‘Global AI Adoption Index’ suggests that the problem isn’t the demand for technology skills but the overall supply. Demand for AI has been rapidly rising as businesses adapt to the impacts of the global pandemic. The report by IBM highlights that 39% of global readers stated the lack of digital skills as the main barrier to integrating AI into their business.


Many countries like the UK embrace new projects to increase technology skills nationwide, particularly with the younger generation and upskilling their workforce. While these measures will hopefully improve the long term challenges, the short-term impacts still need to be addressed.


Research of HR leaders suggested that over 80% of British businesses would consider looking overseas in the next year to fill the digital skills gap if unable to find talent closer to home. This trend of looking overseas has become particularly challenging in Britain due to the implications of Brexit. Over half of technology leaders believe Brexit represents one of the biggest challenges to the thriving digital industry in London, mainly due to the rising risk of missing out on some of the best international talents.


Developing the right conditions


The Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak, recently released its budget with a fast-track technology visa to promote Britain as the best place for high-growth and innovative businesses. The system intends to attract the most promising talent in emerging markets. A report from the Learning & Work Institute think-tank emphasised the need to attract foreign talent and warned that the UK was on a path towards a digital skills shortage. Information suggests that there could be a significant decline in the uptake of technology subjects by the next generation.


Yet, despite this reported decline, the opportunities for young technology professionals is considerable. A study by Tech Nation, a government-based organisation for technology entrepreneurs, states that the UK digital technology sector increased six times faster than the entire economy during the last year. This growth has continued to rise as the pandemic influenced a mass of large-scale transitions to digital.


The technology industry is experiencing a significant rise in new technology opportunities nationwide. With the given shortage of available talent, recruiters are widening their search to fill these vacancies. A lack of homegrown skills has resulted in the UK technology industry continuing to recruit overseas talent. Studies suggest that a little over 40% of technology professionals in London and the surrounding areas had moved to the UK from overseas. This figure demonstrates how dependent the UK technology sector is on foreign talent and how critical these individuals are to continued success in the UK tech market.


As the number of highly skilled digital professionals living and working in the UK increases, the nation can consolidate its place as a leading hub for technology and innovation.


The Government has insisted it is implementing effective measures to address the data skills gap, implementing plans to promote data science and AI into education and training programmes. The Government also introduced the National Data Strategy, which intends to explore ways to teach data skills to everyone, particularly undergraduates. The UK hopes to ensure that businesses across all industries can attract the data-skilled employees they require. Many organisations are continuing to experience challenges in finding the right employees. With demand levels continuing to grow, there is an urgent need to accelerate efforts in improving the availability of skilled workers for the future.



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