Manchester - Children of the Digital Revolution

Written by Arif Ali | News | Blog | Labour | UK Economy | Digital Technology | Technology | Posted 23/10/2018 09:56:33

Let’s chat about MCR

It is well documented that the South of England and London is a hot bed of economic activity. But what’s happening up North?

One of the powerhouses of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester now sits snuggly as one of the most important cities in the UK’s present day economy. Home to 2.8 million people and a GVA of £62.8 billion, this booming city is the fastest growing city outside of London.

How is it a digital hub?

One of its most lucrative sub-economies is its Technology industry. Manchester is a Top 20 European digital city and hosts more than 7,500 creative and tech companies ranging from one of the 1,600 start-ups founded in 2016 to giants such as the BBC, IBM, and Cisco as well as Amazon announcing 600 new jobs in Manchester just last week. And the industry continues to grow: 712,750 jobs were posted in the tech and digital sectors in the last 3 years.

However, it seems as though Manchester is also falling victim to the national skills shortage: 58% of digital companies in the North find it hard to secure the talent that they need in their organisation. How can this blossoming city address this increasing problem?

Arguably there are many reasons for the skills shortage nationally, not purely in Manchester. Many recruitment consultants feel that hiring managers can sometimes be too specific in what they’re job role requirements. One role could potentially entail a myriad of different backgrounds or experiences that some hiring managers don’t consider and thus narrowing the talent pool.

What can be done?

Arguably, the consequences of the increase of university tuition fees can be seen in the industry and are contributing to the skills shortage. Those who can’t afford the £9,000 tuition fees and 3+ years in a structured degree course often turn to online tuition and coding courses that are springing up all over the internet or teaching themselves in their own time. It seems as though some employers are still reluctant to find talent with this experience but must be considered as an alternative to traditional education if the skills shortage is to be addressed seriously. This being said, one encouraging statistic for the future of the industry from this week, is that Google, IBM and Apple have finally stopped wanting a degree for a requirement for any of their jobs.

Manchester is taking this situation by the reins and working to make the city more attractive for aspiring tech professionals. Andy Burnham, the Mayor of Greater Manchester, is leading his tenure with his ‘Digital Strategy’ and wanting to make Manchester the Tech Capital of the UK by attracting top companies and therefore top talent. But with the rocketing digital salaries across the country, how can Manchester become a hot spot? Some recruitment consultants believe that it’s about the work perks, not just a salary; competitive benefit package, flexible working, and a comfortable company culture.

With this culture comes longevity and building longstanding teams with new talent. It also means that as candidates develop into the roles, they aren’t necessarily ready for them when they come to apply for a role – hiring managers are now being encouraged by consultants to look past any small discrepancies in the search for their ‘perfect candidate’ and realise that some grow into their roles.

Our consultants aim to build relationships with clients in order to advise them on such issues, as well as mapping out the market and to identify candidates for roles that could really help shape them and the company.

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