NEW IT &Telecoms Insights report ‘Technology Counts’

by | Jan 28, 2008 | Articles

Making the most of technology could boost UK economy by £35 billion – new research highlights critical importance of IT & Telecoms to UK and urgent need to invest in skills.

Fully exploiting technology is the single most important step the UK can take to improve productivity across the economy, according to research released today by e-skills UK. The results could generate an additional £35 billion for the UK economy over the next decade, but only if we take urgent action to improve our skills base, drive the business adoption of technology – particularly among smaller firms – and foster technology-related innovation.

The research ‘IT & Telecoms Insights 2008’ provides a unique view of the key trends, opportunities and challenges facing the UK over the next ten years, and their implications for skills. The findings are being presented to employers and John Denham, MP, the Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills at an event on 28th January which marks the start of a nationwide consultation on priorities for action.

Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK said:

“The research evidence is unequivocal: in today’s increasingly fast moving global business environment, IT & Telecoms provides the engine of future growth and the key to increasing productivity and competitiveness.  Half of Europe’s productivity gains in recent years can be attributed to investments in IT. IT & Telecoms already contributes £51.9 billion to the UK economy every year – 5% of the total UK economy – and provides jobs for one in twenty of the UK’s workforce.

“Technology enables UK businesses to secure new markets, improve productivity and performance and attract high value-added business and investment to the UK. To safeguard the long term success of the UK we must maintain the strength of our thriving IT & Telecoms sector and world leading IT-enabled sectors such as financial services and biotechnology. We cannot achieve this without widespread investment in skills.”

Paul Coby, CIO, British Airways and Chair of the e-skills UK CIO Board, said:

“We have great intellectual capital in our IT & Telecoms companies.  Our universities are among the world leaders in mathematics, computer science, physics and economics. UK companies have IT departments that lead the world in solving business problems by the smart use of technology. Our lead in these areas will disappear fast unless we radically improve our business and technology skills training at all levels.”

The research reveals that employment in the IT & Telecoms industry is forecast to grow at up to five times the national average. But the long term strength and success of the sector is threatened by a dramatic decline in the numbers of young people studying technology and a lack of interest in technology-related careers. For example, UK applications to IT-related degrees have fallen by 50% in the last five years.

Nick Read, CEO, Vodafone UK said:

“An important first step is to change the perception young people have of IT & Telecoms degrees and careers.  Secondly, we need to transform technology-related education and capture in the curriculum the excitement that students already have for technologies in their daily lives such as mobile phones and the internet. Thirdly, and most importantly of all, in today’s rapidly changing environment we must ensure that the UK’s workforce is encouraged and able to develop the world class skills they need at every stage of their career.  Our future depends on it.”

The IT & Telecoms Insights 2008 research and consultation will underpin employer-led, strategic action plans for the four nations of the UK, to be published later this year.

Further information can be found in the IT &Telecoms Insights report ‘Technology Counts’, available from e-skills UK at www.e-skills.com/insights08

IT and Telecoms Insights 2008: research findings include:

  • There are 1.5 million people in the IT & Telecoms workforce. Over the next five years, the UK will require more than 140,000 new IT & Telecoms professionals per year, most of them entering high level roles.
  • Around half of these will be experienced workers transferring in from other occupations. Around one in five will be direct from education.
  • IT & Telecoms professionals will increasingly require a broad range of technical, business and communications skills.
  • More than 77% of the UK’s total workforce needs IT skills – including four million business managers and leaders who need to be able to drive IT-enabled change and the 21 million people who use IT in their every day jobs.  Over the coming years, they will require IT skills at increasingly advanced levels.
  • Only 18% of the IT & Telecoms professional workforce is female, down from 22% in 2001.

This article was originally created by the Work based e-learning project at e-skills UK and is reproduced with kind permission.

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