UK IT is a great success – let’s work to keep it that way!

More thoughts on the e-skills Manifesto

The UK scores top out of 27 European countries in terms of proportion of enterprises selling online.

But to grow the UK economy and create new jobs, we need more leaders and managers who understand of the strategic implications of technology, with the skills to develop technology-enabled business strategies and the personal motivation to stay current on technological advances.

We also need to invest in a technologically professional workforce in the UK.  And we need to invest in successful industries as well as bailing out failures.

The UK technology workforce has grown through the Recession and has doubled in size since the early 1990s to provide employment for 1.1 million people in highly-skilled, high value add jobs for the UK.  The Technology and Telecomms industry in the UK generates nearly four times the average value add for the UK.

But if we don’t act now, the writing is on the wall for UK IT.   Consider these statistics:

• the gender imbalance: only 17% of Technology professionals are female

• the uptake of IT-related GCSEs and A-levels: declining dramatically since 2002 and 2003 respectively

•  the UK’s education system: not supporting industry’s need for people with hybrid business and IT capability

• the IT literacy now a pre-requisite for getting a job: 92% of new recruits are required to have skills in the use of IT

• 77% of the UK’s current workforce uses IT in their everyday jobs, and the level of skill required is increasing all the time

And these are just some of the reasons why we urgently need an IT manifesto for the UK.

The IT industry in the UK is a fantastic success story: it contributes £71 billion a year value to the UK economy, the technology workforce has doubled since the early 1990s and software has grown at an average of 9% a year over the last decade.

This is undoubtedly a growing and vibrant part of our economy. Let’s work to keep it that way!

About paulcoby
I am CIO at the John Lewis Partnership in the UK. I was Chair of SITA - the airline solutions company owned by the Air Transport Community - for 11 years. I am also on the Boards of Clydesdale and Yorkshire Bank and Pets at Home. Previously I was Head of BA Services and for 10 years CIO at British Airways. I am interested in Roman and Military History. The views expressed are entirely my own not my employers.

One Response to UK IT is a great success – let’s work to keep it that way!

  1. ‘17% of Technology professionals are female’ Hopefully this can be reversed, however considering gov finances after the next election, will this ever get the focus it deserves?

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