Future high-skill IT jobs can become the engine of the Northern Powerhouse, says Gibbs S3
The latest ONS figures on regional employment show that while the employment rate in the UK as a whole is increasing, there is still a significant gap between the South and the North.This comes at a time when the Northern Powerhouse project is hoping to rejuvenate the North to allow it to be more competitive with the South of England.
The North West has seen a rise of 1% in employment, the second-fastest growth across the country, behind only the South East at 1.1%. Yet the regional successes of the Northern Powerhouse are extremely localised, impacting only the North West as the North East and Yorkshire continue to lag behind, growing only 0.35. Since the South already has a significant head-start, with employment at 77.9% in the South compared to 70% in the North, the region as a whole is unlikely to catch up any time soon. Gibbs S3, hybrid IT consulting and recruitment specialists, say that this is a worrying trend that needs to be corrected to ensure that the UK has a more balanced economy across all regions.
Farida Gibbs, CEO and founder of Gibbs S3, commented, “One of the fundamental reasons for growing regional imbalance is the current IT skills shortage. Companies need to consider retraining their staff to cater for the increasingly technology driven working environment, with individuals independently broadening their skills. Flexible working options are also critical to this – for instance as well skilled and experienced mothers may be looking to return to the workforce, but the lack of options available can be restricting.
“The South has a lot more technology oriented positions available, but overhead costs are significantly cheaper in the North. For businesses to expand, having a comprehensive digital strategy is necessary. While the North has the capability to do this with lower costs, many businesses that are looking to expand are missing out on this opportunity. There is a responsibility for the Government to do its part in developing IT skills in the North, meaning that the high-skill technology roles of the future can be more evenly balanced across the country.”
“Although it is to be expected that London and the surrounding regions maintains a higher employment rate, more inventive and flexible workforce solutions can help the Northern regions be catch up to and reduce the North-South divide. In order for the Northern Powerhouse project to be a success, we need a much higher employment rate to improve the economy as a whole.”