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How Has Demand for Digital Jobs and Skills Changed in the Last 12 Months?

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We hear a lot about the growing demand for digital jobs and skills, but we rarely get past the headlines into the details of what this actually means. In this piece, we’re going to go into the forest to view the trees themselves, looking at demand across geographies and in terms of the jobs and skills being sought by employers.

In order to do this, we’ve identified a cluster of occupations which are particularly associated with the digital sector — including things like IT engineers, Programmers and software development professionals, and Web design and development professionals — and all the insights below are based on employer job postings for these occupations over the last 12 months.

We can begin by looking at employer demand from a location perspective, and in the chart below we’ve tracked the month-on-month percentage change in job postings for these digital occupations across every LEP region and the three devolved governments.

The most interesting points to note are that demand in August 2021 was higher in almost all areas of the country than 12 months before, with the exceptions being:

  • York, North Yorkshire & East Riding (27.2% decline in employer postings),
  • Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly (-15.0%),
  • Solent (-9.7%), and Greater Cambridge & Greater Peterborough (0.0%).

Other areas have seen growth significantly higher than the national average (24%), with Cumbria (104.4%), North East (95.1%), and Gloucestershire (59.8%) particularly standing out:

Our occupation data is tagged to both job titles and skills, which means we can identify demand at a far more granular level than the 13 digital occupations we’ve identified.

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The following chart looks at job titles being sought by employers over the last year using three metrics: the total number of postings for that job title over the period (unique postings); growth in postings over the year in absolute numbers (absolute change); and proportionate growth in postings over the year (percentage change).

The unique postings data tells us which jobs are most in demand, and unsurprisingly roles like Software Engineers and Software Developers are at the top of the pack. However, the data on percentage change is perhaps the most interesting, as it is in this that we begin to get some hints as to how demand is shaping up for the future.

For instance, jobs like Agile Delivery Managers (199% growth), Azure Cloud Engineers (188%), and Cloud Infrastructure Engineers (157%), which do not appear on the data for unique postings, have all seen significant growth in employer demand over the past year:

In the chart below we have used the same metrics as the previous chart, but this time to look at the technical skills being requested by employers in their job advertisements.

Again, the data on unique postings is interesting as it shows which skills are most in-demand, but in terms of getting a sense of where skills demand is heading, the data on percentage change is very revealing.

Here we see the skills that are currently driving the sector coming through, and these include things like Terraform (95% growth), Kubernetes (84%), and AI (63%).

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