Currently there are over 1,350 digital companies based in Leeds who employ over 10,000 people ranging from freelance coders to national companies such as Sky and KPMG. Leeds has the highest amount of scale-up digital companies outside the South East and our city region has already outstripped Bristol and Manchester for employment growth in digital and creative industries. This is a positive story we should be proud to tell.
However, one of the consequences of a rapidly growing digital sector is the danger that demand from employers will outstrip supply. This is the situation Leeds faces, and can be encapsulated in the fact that as of March 2016, there are 640 vacancies for mid-level tech jobs in the city, an increase of over 50% in the preceding six months. The city wants to retain graduates from our high quality universities within the digital sector in Leeds, and we want to attract graduates to the city from other parts of the UK, and internationally. We also want businesses to invest here, and to do so there needs to be confidence about the calibre and depth of the talent pool they can recruit from.
The Leeds Digital Board asked a number of employers and education providers, supported by Leeds City Council, to form a Digital Skills Working Group to identify how to address some of these issues. The Leeds Digital Skills Action Plan is the outcome of those discussions, and sets out actions to be taken by partners to drive growth through creating and promoting entry points to the sector to local, national and international talent, and improve connections between employers and education to ensure supply meets demand.
A copy of the skills plan can be found below: