ESTnet Members Predict Growth in Jobs, Sales and Investment for 2014
A majority of Welsh technology companies expect an increase in sales, jobs and investment over the coming year and most also plan to expand research and development activities to drive growth.
More than nine out of ten predict rising revenues, while eight out of ten plan to recruit more staff and just over half expect to spend more on research and development in order to bring innovations to market.
Around ninety per cent said they believed there would be a need to increase overall investment in their businesses in the next 12 months.
This encouraging picture of Wales’ electronics and software technologies sector is contained in the Welsh Technology Report, an in depth study published on 13 January by the the ESTnet in collaboration with professional services firm, Deloitte.
A report released by e-skills UK and SAS, the leader in business analytics, predicts that around a third of the UK's larger organisations - around 6,400 - will implement big data analytics programmes in the next five years, pushing the demand for big data specialists up by 243 per cent to 69,000.
The report, Big Data Analytics: Adoption and employment trends, is the first one of its kind to identify current and future adoption rates for big data by type and size of organisation in the UK with information supplied by 1,000 businesses across the country.
New research shows growth in the Information Economy is twice the UK average
e-skills UK, Intellect and BCS have issued a new report which shows that growth in the Information Economy is twice the UK average. This growth is driven by the high quality of staff in the sector, suggests the report.
"This research shows that tech in the UK and the wider Information Economy is in robust health," says Julian David of industry body Intellect. "The UK tech sector is critical to the national economy - across all industries we employ more than 1.4 million people, representing 5% of the total UK workforce. Tech in the UK sits at the heart of all kinds of activities and advances, from education to energy and from finance to fashion. This research is a timely reminder that continued economic recovery is critically dependent on digital expertise - and that the UK tech sector is well placed to lead it."
"Employers across the Information Economy are committed to driving growth further and faster," adds Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK. "They know that, with the right skills in place, the UK has the potential to be a global leader in the digital industries. They are working together to ensure that as a nation we have the skills base to take advantage of the opportunities. It's rare to see such unity of purpose in an industry - but if the stakes are high, the possibilities are boundless."
Opportunities in Wales for IT professionals are forecast to grow at over twice the Welsh average for employment between now and 2020, according to labour market intelligence from e-skills UK,the employer body for technology skills.
This sounds like good news but there aren’t enough skilled people to fulfil the roles; creating problems for employers and the economy.In order to fill this gap there is a need for training to be available to develop the skills for which companies are looking.
In addition to the forecast growth in available roles, employers in Wales are reporting that their current IT professionals need to upgrade their skills to meet the ever-evolving changes in technology. Almost a quarter of companies are reporting gaps in both the technical and non-technical skills of their IT staff.
e-skills UK, and the Welsh Government are running a programme to address this, Pathways to Digital Growth, with the goal being to provide subsidised, IT skills training to Welsh employers in the areas that are currently constraining their business growth.
How can your business benefit?
If your business* is headquartered or has an office in Wales and employs IT professionals, then we want to hear from you.
We are offering high quality, subsidised IT training coupled with entry into the relevant industry recognised qualification exam for the candidate at a fraction of the usual cost. The online training has been aligned to the identified business demand in Wales and includes:
> Agile Software Development
> IT Project Management
> IT Service Management
> Software Testing
> Oracle Java Programming
Businesses are able to nominate up to ten staff**, all of whom must be current IT professionals.
No time to read it? Well, here’s a summary for you!
The report maps the UK Digital Economy using traditional data such as SIC codes (Standard Industrial Codes) and Companies House data, and contrasts it with the map created by incorporating Big Data. The findings are almost secondary to the promotion of Big Data as a preferred research tool; specifically data provided by London firm Growth Intelligence; a ‘pioneer’ in Big Data research techniques.
The report highlights the issues with traditional, static data sources, particularly SIC codes which have not been updated to capture the digitisation of many non-ICT jobs. Therefore many companies are misleadingly classified, creating accuracy issues which are compounded by the fact that 1/10 companies are classified in the “other category” and 1/5 have no classification at all.
One of the case studies used in the report is of a publishing company that offers a range of offline and digital marketing services. Under the SIC code of ‘Other Publishing Activities’, any indication of the company’s contribution to the digital economy is absent. Using Big Data they were subsequently categorised as ‘Publishers’ and with a ‘Custom Software Development’ product.
So how does Big Data overcome the static, outdated and incomplete nature of traditional data?
Growth Intelligence’s data integrates traditional data with over 5 billion digital data points, enriching the reported profiles of millions of companies; this study alone used a sample of 1.868 million companies. Software developed by Growth Intelligence automatically analyses a company’s character using tools such as text analysis, for example reviewing the online language about a company to establish its core products, activities and services. This creates organic categorisations which are objective, rather than the subjective, self-selection of SIC codes. As the online data changes, so does the real-time categorisation of companies. Such dynamic techniques allow for ‘predicting the present’ or ‘nowcasting’. Not only does the software pick up online text, but it can also monitor activity levels, such as email traffic, social media activity, web traffic, search engine traffic, financial transactions and the semi-structured data. The software uses bespoke machine learning to learn the correlations between activity, real-time classification, digital signature and company performance.
When exploring the UK’s digital economy using Growth Intelligence’s Big Data method the digital economy…
is substantially larger, over 40% more companies than conventional estimates
has about the same age profile as the rest of the economy, with the same share of start-ups among active companies
has lower average revenues per company than non-digital businesses, but the median digital company has higher revenues and higher revenue growth than the median company outside the digital sector
is likely to have slightly higher employment per company, and has a substantially higher share of national employment than conventional estimates suggest
is dominated by London and the Greater South East, but with clustering in Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Brighton, Aberdeen, Middlesbrough and other cities.
The findings dispel many beliefs about the digital sector, and highlight its’ role as an even greater economic driver than previously estimated.
Software Alliance Wales - Business Liaison Officer
University of Wales Trinity Saint David
The National Institute of Economic and Social Research is Britain's longest established independent economic research institute.