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One in 10 new UK jobs now in tech, study shows

Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 10:07

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More than 10 per cent of new jobs created in the UK this year have been in technology fields, with expertise in artificial intelligence and data science two of the primary drivers-but filling those positions is proving tough.

[LONDON] More than 10 per cent of new jobs created in the UK this year have been in technology fields, with expertise in artificial intelligence and data science two of the primary drivers-but filling those positions is proving tough.

Global job-listing and recruitment portal Indeed released the data Thursday, based on hundreds of thousands of job searches and vacancy listings conducted on its website.

"The software economy is driving significant new employment opportunities in London, and this is showing up in the tech talent shortage, especially where developer and more senior roles are concerned," said Raj Mukherjee, a senior vice president at Indeed.

Following the UK's vote to leave the European Union last year, concerns have been raised about the future of London as a home for technology companies and workers. But the city has shown resilience to doubt, with companies such as Snap Inc, Apple Inc, Slack Technologies Inc, Facebook Inc and Google, as well as major local startups such as Deliveroo, all announcing plans to open new or expanded offices in London.

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According to Indeed, demand for software engineers within fields such as machine learning and data science were two of the five fastest-growing categories within tech this year, with a 191 per cent growth and 136 per cent increase in both fields respectively since 2015.

"The salaries and prestige associated with the most in-demand specialisms-AI, data science and software developer-are turning them into the rock stars of the business world," said Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, an industry body.

This is reflective of a wider industry trend that has seen the world's biggest tech companies investing billions of dollars and hiring thousands of staff to develop AI products, such as Apple for its Siri  digital assistant, Google for its Android platform, Microsoft Corp for Cortana, and Amazon.com Inc for its Echo home assistant.

In November, Facebook said it would increase its UK headcount by 50 per cent, hiring 500 new staff. "Many of those new roles will be high-skilled engineering jobs," Nicola Mendelsohn, Facebook's vice president for the EMEA region, said at the time.

However, Indeed also said its data showed that despite high demand for developers, matching the job listings with available talent was tough for many employers. Of the 50 most difficult roles to fill on the site, 44 per cent were for software and tech developers.

Mr Shaw said demand is simply now outstripping supply. "We need to invest in home-grown talent through digital skills initiatives and keep the UK open to international high-skilled workers through accessible visa routes," he said. "Neglecting the tech talent pipeline will undermine recent success and stop the growth of our tech firms in their tracks."

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