Scotland business

Digital technologies industry's 'strong prospects for growth'

The digital technologies industry is reporting strong prospects for growth in business and recruitment, while repeating its concern about skill shortages.

The trade body, ScotlandIS, has published its annual survey of 150 members.

It shows 83% of firms plan to increase staff numbers, with 86% foreseeing sales rising in the coming year.

Medium-sized companies show the strongest growth expectations.

Many are pushing into international activity, led by Europe, US and Canadian markets.

During 2014, 42% of companies reported their margins improving, while 36% said they were stable.

Polly Purvis, the body's director, said there are moves afoot to address the shortage of skilled recruits.

'Vibrant industry'

"This is great news for a vibrant industry which is going from strength to strength," she said. "There has never been a better time to get into software and IT.

"For young people considering their career options our industry offers huge opportunities, from founding your own tech start-up to international marketing as Scottish technology businesses increasingly move into global markets."

While Ms Purvis cautioned that a shortage of skilled people could stop the industry reaching its full potential, she is confident that work is under way to address the problem.

"The skills gap is beginning to hit home, causing wage inflation and making it harder for companies to retain experience, so we are pleased to see the public sector and our members working together to find a solution.

"By dealing with this problem now we will ensure that our industry is able to continue to grow and contribute to the Scottish economy."

ScotlandIS cites survey findings that suggest 80,000 people work in the digital technologies industry in Scotland, and that it contributes £4bn in added value to the economy.

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