Preparing the UK for the future of work

techUK sets out its recommendations for government to prepare the UK for the future of work.

The tech sector is the UK’s modern economic success story, with the sector’s contribution to the UK economy growing by 26.5% between 2010 and 2019. The most recent estimates show that UK tech now employs 1.7 million people, adding over £150bn to the economy every year. Further government’s estimates show that, if our sector is well supported, we could add another £41.5bn by 2025, creating 678,000 more jobs. As the UK economy seeks to recover from the impact of the pandemic, and grapples with additional challenges around rising energy prices and spiralling inflation, leveraging this strong digital and tech sector will be key to driving growth across the wider economy.

The pandemic accelerated digital adoption in businesses across all sectors, with a huge increase in demand for tech products and services driving tech sector vacancies to approximately 870,000 between January 2022 and May 2022, around 14% of all job opportunities in the UK. The findings of techUK’s recent Digital Economy Monitor survey show that this desire for digital transformation has become embedded, underscoring the importance of digital skills and technology to the future of the UK economy. However, UK businesses are not able to recruit the digital skills they need, with 30% of techUK members highlighting better training and skills support and 21% raising better access to overseas talent as key to ensuring the sector can grow and prosper. The role of diversity initiatives have also been widely recognised in building high-performing and productive teams and 38% of IT decision-makers report that this will be a focus over the next 12 months. techUK is keen to see government take tangible steps to support people from all backgrounds into digital careers, enabling businesses to invest and access the talent they need.

At the same time an increased desire for flexibility amongst workers has been reflected in the rise of hybrid working models and the sustained growth of the gig economy. Over 75% of UK bosses intend to adopt remote or hybrid working in the long-term and flexible working options are now just as important as traditional benefits for UK workers, whilst the gig economy workforce has trebled over the last 5 years with 15% of adults finding work through online platforms at least once a week. techUK believes that taking advantage of this flexible working revolution and driving industry standards around such work will have benefits for all but require concerted action from government.

techUK has set out five key recommendations for government to prepare the UK for the future of work and provide businesses and individuals with the skills and conditions they need to thrive in the digital economy:

  1. Review and reform Apprenticeship Levy to broaden routes and provide guidance on pathways into digital jobs
  2. Embrace flexible work by providing guidance for the public and private sector and establishing the right to request flexible work on day one
  3. Take action to drive standards across the gig economy and create a Single Enforcement Body to provide clarity on gig work
  4. Introduce a Digital Skills & Productivity Tax Credit to support businesses to invest in training and adopt productivity-enhancing technology
  5. Enable businesses to access and attract high quality international talent by reducing costs of the immigration system and streamline the Shortage Occupation List
Sheila Flavell
Despite a difficult economic backdrop, the UK tech sector continues to show a strong desire to create jobs and expand its workforce. Leveraging the strength of UK tech will be critical in responding to some of the biggest challenges facing the country today, but we need to act now to address the digital skills shortage and prepare the UK for the future of work. These recommendations set out how we can position the UK for success in the digital economy of the future, by supporting more people from all backgrounds into well-paid digital careers, ensuring access to international tech talent, embracing flexible work and driving standards for high quality flexible jobs.

Sheila Flavell

President, techUK


Discover techUK's Future of Work activity

The future of work is changing, with emerging technologies such as robotics and AI set to become common place. techUK believes that we need to act now to equip people and businesses with the skills and conditions they need to take advantage of the opportunities presented by the Fourth Industrial Revolution and digital transformation in the world of work.

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Jake Wall

Jake Wall

Policy Manager, Skills and Future of Work, techUK

Jake has been the Policy Manager for Skills and Future of Work since May 2022, supporting techUK's work to empower the UK to skill, attract and retain the brightest global talent, and prepare for the digital transformations of the future workplace.

Previously, Jake was the Programme Assistant for Policy. He joined techUK in March 2019 and has also worked across the EU Exit, International Trade, and Cloud, Data Analytics and AI programmes.

Email:
[email protected]
Website:
www.techuk.org
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jwwuk

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Nimmi Patel

Nimmi Patel

Policy Manager, Skills, Talent and Diversity, techUK

Nimmi Patel is the Policy Manager for Skills, Talent and Diversity at techUK.

She works on all things skills policy, focusing on upskilling and retrain. She is committed to embedding diversity in the UK tech pipeline from classroom to boardroom working with partners such as the Tech Talent Charter and the WISE Campaign. Nimmi also leads techUK’s immigration work, collaborating with techUK members and stakeholders to create an environment that attracts the best talent to the UK.

Prior to joining the team, she worked for the UK Labour Party and New Zealand Labour Party and holds a BA in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from the University of Manchester and is currently studying MA Strategic Communications at King’s College London.

Email:
[email protected]
Phone:
07805744520
Twitter:
@nimmiptl
Website:
www.techuk.org
LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/nimmi-patel1/

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