New research from ScotlandIS is forecasting strong growth for the digital technologies industry in Scotland, with 83% of organisations planning to increase staff numbers and 86% of businesses expecting sales to rise in the coming year.
And there is good news for computer science students approaching their final exams, with high demand for graduates and 74% of organisations expecting to recruit in 2015.
The annual survey of 150 organisations, carried out on behalf of ScotlandIS by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, also found that Scottish businesses are undertaking a significant amount of international activity, with Europe, USA and Canada seen as the most attractive overseas markets for the second year running.
ScotlandIS, the trade body for the digital technologies industry in Scotland, welcomed the positive outlook for the year ahead.
Polly Purvis, CEO of ScotlandIS, says: “This is great news for a vibrant industry which is going from strength to strength. 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 Purvis cautions that a shortage of skilled people could stop the industry reaching its full potential she is confident that work is underway to address the problem.
She says: “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. We have welcomed initiatives such as the Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Digital Technologies and ICT Industries, and we are glad to see that its recommendations are being put into action. By dealing with this problem now we will ensure that our industry is able to continue to grow and contribute to the Scottish economy.”
70% of businesses surveyed reported sales growth in 2014, with the strongest results coming from small and medium sized companies. 42% of businesses reported increased margins with a further 36% reporting stable profit margins during 2014. 2015 should be a particularly good year for medium sized companies, with 96% expecting an increase in sales of the next 12 months.
Some 80,000 people work in the digital technologies industry in Scotland, which contributes £4 billion GVA to the economy and is increasingly adding to export revenues.