Shoreditch Boxpark

London is crying out for tech talent

03 December 2015

Several issues require urgent attention from the Mayor, if London is to maintain growth in its digital economy.

  • 46% of leading tech figures believe the biggest challenge facing the tech sector is a shortage of skilled workers. The UK economy will need 745,000 additional digital skilled workers in the next two years.
  • Despite this need, young Londoners and women, in particular, struggle to take advantage of the jobs available.
  • London’s economy hinges on fast and reliable broadband, but superfast coverage for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) lags behind average coverage in urban areas (67% compared to 83%).

The digital report ‘A Mayoral Manifesto for the Digital Economy’ from the London Assembly Economy Committee details the most pressing challenges facing the tech sector: a shortage of digital skills, lack of diversity in the sector and poor connectivity.

The report makes a number of recommendations:

  • The Mayor and the London Enterprise Panel (LEP) should design an apprenticeship, which is fit for the digital sector. It should be industry-led, combine technical and workplace skills and be better promoted in schools. 
  • The Mayor and the LEP should support SMEs, which make up 98% of the sector’s businesses, to take on apprentices.
  • The Mayor should lobby government to introduce the installation of super-fast broadband connectivity, as a condition of planning consent for new developments.

Fiona Twycross AM, Chair of the Economy Committee, said:

“London has a world leading tech sector, but we need to ensure that this thriving sector is as diverse as possible with opportunities for women and local young people benefitting from what is on their doorstep. Tech companies are crying out for people with the right digital skills. We must do all we can to get young people trained, so they don’t miss out on the opportunities out there.

There is also a problem with London’s connectivity - some companies have to resort to sending their work via courier to clients, due to frustratingly slow upload speeds. Moves have been made to address this, but urgent action is needed to improve connectivity and broadband access for SMEs.”