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AMSOURCE VISITS TECH NORTH'S TALENT & SKILLS SUMMIT

Sunday 20th March 2016
On Friday we took the opportunity to attend the Tech North Talent and Skills Summit in Leeds.

The event marked another initiative put forward by the driven team at Tech North to raise the profile of The North as a tech hotspot. A number of employers, SMEs, LEPs, educational institutions and other key stakeholders came together to galvanise the power of our community to keep the pace with the growth and demand of digital talent in the north of England.

It was a great turnout! The number of people supporting the growth of the digital economy and so many people addressing the issues that impact our technical community and the growth of tech in The North was really refreshing to see.

It’s clear to see The North is a major player when it comes to the UK’s digital economy…

Once a key driver of the industrial revolution the ‘Northern Powerhouse has proven itself as a leader in digital innovation, from Alan Turing at the university of Manchester producing the world’s first programmable computer to the creation of Sage, the UK’s only FTSE 100 technology company. 

The region is highly regarded by tech professionals as a place for promising opportunities. (Click here). In Leeds alone it was reported that advertised salaries for technology jobs had experienced a 29% growth between 2012- 2015, a similar story told in Liverpool where salaries have increased in the same period at 16%.

In our info-graphic we presented how 78% of technology workers outside of London received a pay increase in 2014, and the hourly rate for IT contractors working in the North West and North East has also increased by 10% and 21% last year, further demonstrating why a tech career in The North is becoming a popular choice for techies.



Further progress…

Friday’s summit was extremely positive in terms of demonstrating solutions and tackling issues being felt in the sector. From bridging the digital skills gap, tackling gender inequality in the industry to the continual push of the digital northern powerhouse and how we can continue to attract and retain top talent in our region!

We’ve spoken a lot in previous blogs about the digital skills gap. Amy De-Balsi, founder of Leeds online job board HERD, stated that the number of vacancies in the Leeds digital sector has risen by almost half over the last 12 months from 400 roles to 600 roles.

However with a lack of candidates with the correct skills, more needs to be done to get more people into technology based careers. Last month Leeds council teamed up with HERD holding the first ever Leeds digital jobs fair, the event was the first of its kind in Leeds and was a big step in the right direction in promoting digital opportunities to the future of technology talent in our area.

Another big factor in the technology industry the world over at the moment is ‘Women In tech’, and how there is a significant imbalance in the sector with the number of men outnumbering women by a considerable amount. 

Ian Fordham of the Education foundation delivered an insightful talk at Friday's event about how the education of young people will be key in sealing the digital skills gap and also attracting more young girls to get involved in technology based careers.

Sue Duke of LinkedIn provided some interesting analysis regarding the skills gap and how in order to bridge the gap we will need to delve deeper to see in which areas of the sector we are experiencing a skills shortage, and the skills unique to that area.


If Friday's event was anything to go by, The North will continue to provide exciting opportunities digitally in the future. The feeling of positivity was a key take away from the event. Collectively the tech community in The North are extremely driven and motivated to continue driving the notion of the Northern Powerhouse, and for The North to be recognised internationally as an influential hub of digital activity.

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