As we continue to climb out of recession it’s a hopeful time for many industries, although some have undoubtedly fared better than others over the last 7 years. When the dotcom bubble burst in 2000 who’d have thought that the digital industry would so quickly rise from the ashes and go on to weather the storm of the recent financial slump much better than most others?
The truth is that the UK’s digital economy is a growing source of employment with ‘skills shortage’ rather than ‘jobs shortage’, being the main concern. It is reckoned that close to 1.5m people currently work in the industry and by 2020 5.4% of the population will be employed in digital jobs.
It can be a tricky sector to get your head around because, so often, the jobs cut through other industries and are not stand-alone. However, a broad overview of job types can be seen as:
A broad term used to describe a number of specialisms such as search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, and Pay-Per-Click (PPC). They all share the common goal of promoting a brand and raising its online profile.
This is about creating online content that appeals to the target audience. From blogging, to the growing trend for online video production, this areas also encompasses higher level roles involved with defining the brands strategic direction.
ANALYTICS AND RESEARCH
Professionals are increasingly using tools such as Google Analytics to monitor traffic coming into the site and using this data to make improvements and predictions. But it can similarly be about looking at broader industry trends to come up with future-proof solutions.
Creating engaging, interactive graphics and designs for a number of online platforms (web pages, email campaigns, social profile pages) whilst staying true to brand values, useful skills here include Photoshop and InDesign, whilst for web design roles HTML and CSS are valued.
This is basically anything to do with buying or selling online and whilst roles can be varied within this umbrella term, a well-developed business acumen is usually required in order to understand commercial priorities.
These are the people that build fully functioning websites and online tools including, of course, the huge growth area of smartphone and tablet apps. The ever-changing nature of technology, platforms and devices ensures this will remain a dynamic part of the industry.
Like most industries, numerous myths exist that may be preventing suitable potential employees from targeting the industry. The idea that ‘you have to be a techie’ is clearly not evident from the range of jobs above, which include roles for the creative, the business-minded and the data analytical. Another thing to consider is the location of these roles. Far from the assumption that a small area of East London is the hub of digital activity, 74% of digital companies are actually located outside the capital, with growth being greater in the north. Additionally, cities like Bristol, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Cambridge are increasing being recognised as tech clusters and are growing strong expertise in niche areas. And age need not be a barrier. Despite having a reputation as a young person’s industry (and indeed, it offers many great opportunities for the under 25s) the relative infancy of the sector, the breadth of skills it covers, and the sheer amount of job opportunities means it also has much to offer career changers and more experienced workers.
- Britain’s tech sector is estimated to contribute around £100bn to the UK economy
- The UK’s digital economy grew at 10.9% in 2011 – the depths of the recession. This was significantly higher than the 8.1% average across G20 countries.
- 98%. of the UK’s digital companies are small businesses.
- It is estimated that 45,000 digital jobs are being advertised in the UK at any one time.
- The UK’s 1st App Developer Census report recently stated that the UK accounts for 32% of mobile app revenues in the EU.
These, and many more useful statistics can be read in TechCity’s 2015 report: Tech Nation – Powering the Digital Economy.
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