Three quarters of Greater Manchester’s tech and digital businesses saw growth last year

By Manchester Digital
8th February 2022

Almost three quarters of Greater Manchester tech and digital businesses reported an increase in revenue in the last year. On top of this, 70% of businesses reported an increase in employees over the past 12 months.

Of those advertised vacancies, 68% were for developers, and 62% of businesses said that developers were key to their growth over the next three years. The next most-recruited roles were digital marketing (46%); project management (44%); UX research and design (32%) and testers/QA (32%). The most difficult to fill roles were cited as developer (55%); dev ops (41%); IT and infrastructure (17%) and testers/QA (14%).

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The annual Skills Audit completed by trade body Manchester Digital, as part of its Digital Skills Festival, surveyed businesses and individuals on a wide range of issues from growth and skills through to diversity and inclusion, as well as future skills required.

The most required future skills were cited as: developer (62%); digital marketing (51%); project management (45%); sales and business development (43%) and dev ops (43%).

Katie Gallagher, managing director of Manchester Digital, said of the 2022 report, “The majority of the tech and digital companies in Greater Manchester have thrived over the past 12 months, which is positive news. During 2021, the initial shock of the pandemic was over, so employees were set up to work from home, minimising disruption due to Covid-19.

“This report confirms which job roles are now most in demand within the industry and which skills will be the most desirable in the future, so we need the industry to come together and create the right opportunities for young people. We need businesses and education providers to create even more opportunities and pathways into the industry, otherwise that skills gap will continue to increase and hamper growth.”

In terms of diversity and inclusion within the tech industry, businesses have reported that 21% of their workforce were from a BAME background compared to just 11% 12 months ago, which shows promising progress.

Although the industry still tends to be dominated by men in terms of technical roles, there are some indications that the gender gap has closed slightly - with 24% of technical roles filled with women, higher than results of the last few years.

Interestingly, 95% of employers surveyed said that hiring more diverse candidates was important to them. However 43% of them did not have a policy in place to support ensuring they employed candidates from more diverse backgrounds.

Katie added, “We’re pleased to see these developments around diversity and inclusion within the tech industry. At Manchester Digital, we have worked hard to improve diversity and close the gender gap over the years, with apprenticeships, our Digital Her scheme and many other professional development opportunities for young people from diverse backgrounds - and we will continue to work at this.”

Alison Ross, chair of Manchester Digital and operations and culture director at Auto Trader, said: “It’s great to see such strong signs of growth within our region’s tech and digital industry. As we all know it’s been another tough year of uncertainty for businesses, but the tech industry has once again proved it is flexible and continually growing across our region.

“I’m also very pleased to see the improved stats around diversity and inclusion within the industry, something the team at Manchester Digital has worked really hard to improve for many years.”

The Skills Audit was released at Conference Day on Monday, February 7, part of the week-long Digital Skills Festival. The launch event also saw keynote speeches from Craig Fenton, director of strategy and operations at Google UK&I, and Helen Robinson: D&I and community engagement manager and Tony McArdle, learning partner, both from Auto Trader.

Manchester Digital offers numerous skills and training opportunities for job seekers wanting to join the tech and digital industry, ranging from software developer apprenticeships, InDigital training and a number of professional development courses.

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