Government needs to support tech talent says Sage

The Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond today released his Autumn Statement on the state of the British economy. You can read coverage of that on Enterprise Nation: Autumn Statement 2016: What small businesses need to know.

But this comment from Sage caught my eye. And I’m in broad agreement.

Here’s what Jacqueline de Rojas, MD of Sage Northern Europe said: “Philip Hammond’s acknowledgement that the Autumn statement needed to support our cutting edge businesses leading the word in disruptive tech was much needed and an encouraging start. At Sage we wanted business to come out of the Autumn Statement better supported – after all, small businesses accounted for 99.3% of all private sector businesses at the start of 2016 and 99.9% were small or medium-sized (SMEs).

What’s missing for us is the tech talent and skills piece. In this time of post-Brexit vote/pre-Article 50 trigger, it’s essential that the UK reinvents as a digital nation of significance. To be a digital nation of significance, the UK desperately needs more digital disruption in leadership and digital capability on boards. There’s an urgent need to build tech skills and equip our workforces for the digital age – it’s vital for supporting and enabling our businesses to continue to power up the UK economy and government need to make upskilling easy and accessible for both entrepreneurs and business builders. If the tech industry continues to grow at the current rate we will have a serious skills shortage by 2020. Given that the tech industry represents 12.6% of GDP and the country does not have enough talent to fuel growth at pace we need the government to take action NOW to solve the skills crisis.

We welcome the £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund to help close the productivity gap. The additional investment is good news for enabling an agile business economy so that we can better compete at home, and overseas, but it’s essential that spending supports charging the digital heartbeat of our companies to power up the UK economy as that is what will differentiate and drive businesses increasingly in the future.”