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Cybersecurity demand to propel jobs boost in Scotland’s tech sector

Apr 26, 20233 mins

Scotland’s technology sector continues to grow with cybersecurity deemed the biggest opportunity area for the next 12 months.

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Cybersecurity is the greatest opportunity area for Scottish tech companies over the next 12 months, with demand for cybersecurity skills propelling a jobs boost in the sector. That’s according to the Scottish technology industry survey 2023 from ScotlandIS, which aggregates the sector’s performance over the past year.

The latest survey found that, despite economic slowdowns, Scotland’s technology sector continues to grow with many companies reporting increased sales and profit margins. The vast majority of respondents (83%) anticipate an increase in employment numbers in the coming year, with none indicating that they would look to reduce headcount.

Scotland’s digital sector plays a crucial role in the nation’s economy. It’s estimated to contribute around £6 billion, accounting for 4% of Scotland’s total economic output. The digital technology sector is also believed to more productive than the Scottish average. There are a wide range of sectors that the industry supplies, with the public sector the most served. This is followed by the financial and professional services sectors.

Cybersecurity “biggest opportunity area” for Scotland’s tech sector

Companies gave three leading answers when asked about the greatest opportunities for their businesses over the next 12months: cybersecurity (46%), data analytics (45%), and artificial intelligence (43%).

While the top three opportunity areas have remained the same as last year, their weighting has changed, according to the survey. Cybersecurity has risen by over 15%, while artificial intelligence (up 1%) and data analytics (down 1%) have shifted slightly. In addition, 41% of those surveyed reported that they have an interest in cloud technology as one of the areas of further development. Metaverse (7%) and quantum technologies (5%) were among the least liked by respondents.

The survey revealed clear demand for cybersecurity skills in Scotland, with 65% of respondents stating a need for more in-house cybersecurity talent. This is likely to play into positive cybersecurity recruitment across Scotland’s tech space, especially given that all the companies surveyed expect to either increase their headcounts or retain the same number of personnel as they do now.

Demand for the recruitment of university graduates has increased with 81% of responding businesses reporting that they are definitely or quite likely to recruit graduates in the next 12 months, up from figures around 76% last year. Interest in college graduates has increased significantly too, with 65% definitely or quite likely to hire them, up from 52% last year.

As part of the Cyber Essentials program, ScotlandIS has distributed a £185,000 fund to industry across Scotland and over £600,000 through the cyber upskilling fund. Last year, the Scottish government announced a £500,000 contract to extend cyber resilience training to more than 250 companies across the country, with the Scottish Business Resilience Centre (SBRC) running online and in-person workshops to ensure businesses are better prepared for and protected against cyberthreats.