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February 25, 2015

We need more digital workers, say UK companies

Migration Advisory Committee recommends throwing gates open for skilled tech workers.

By Alexander Sword

The Migration Advisory Committee has recommended the addition of four new digital sector jobs to the Government’s shortage occupation list.

The job titles of product manager, data scientists, senior developer and cyber security specialist were suggested for inclusion after consultation with industry experts and stakeholders.

The list specifies the titles for which British companies and the public sector to recruit skilled labour from outside the European Union.

The move reflects a shortage of skilled IT labour in the UK. For example, the report warned that the US was "five to ten years, or more, ahead of the UK on product development", which prompted the inclusion of product manager on the list.

"We were told of vacancies which had remained unfilled for a number of weeks and we did take into account the fact that in a very fast moving sector like digital technology the delay of a few days in recruiting staff could make the difference between success and failure for an enterprise," the report stated.

The report concluded that most larger companies were able to get hold of the talent they needed, but among smaller enterprises this was more of an issue.

Antony Walker, deputy CEO of techUK, commented on the report’s findings:

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"This announcement shows that the Government’s own independent expert advisory committee recognises the shortages faced by tech and digital firms, and the vital importance of these roles for making sure the UK is a global hub for tech talent.

"Fast-growing tech scale-ups are competing for the best tech talent with companies around the world.

"We now look to the Government to adopt the recommendations and add these important tech roles to the Government’s shortage occupation list, helping tech and digital start-ups and scale-ups grow more quickly, in turn creating more jobs and growth for the UK.

"These key roles are job multipliers, they enable companies to grow and create more jobs for people right across the UK."

Image: Paul J. Martin

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