Workers in the UK’s IT sector have slammed George Osborne’s budget speech in which he failed to mention the IT industry at all.
With IT largely considered to be the linchpin of the UK’s future economy, it was hoped that the sector would feature prominently in Budget 2016, with the likes of the Internet of Things (IoT) and STEM in general hotly tipped for increased spending.
Mark Wilkinson, SAS regional VP – Northern Europe and Russia/CIS, said the UK simply must invest more in technology.
He said: “In the face of economic uncertainty, investment in high-technology initiatives that drive increased productivity, job creation and innovation would go some way in restoring confidence among British businesses.
“Our research with CEBR shows that big data analytics and the IoT can inject £322bn into the UK economy and create 182,000 new jobs between 2015 and 2020, in sectors that are foundations of a sustainable economy – such as manufacturing, professional services, retail banking and telecoms.
“However, the lack of data skills in our workforce remains the biggest barrier to businesses achieving this vision.”
He continued: “Despite the explosion of data it is now much cheaper to store it. Not only that but technology now allows analytics to happen on relevant data in real time, enriched with any available stored data. The result is predictive streaming analysis, instant insight and immediate action. Organisations that embrace big data analytics and the Internet of Things will reap the highest rewards by making faster and better decisions.”
Tudor Aw, technology sector head at KPMG, pointed out that the technology sector has been neglected in recent budgets.
If the UK is to punch above its weight on the global tech scene we need to see bolder proposals, as well as back STEM skills and apprenticeship schemes, he explained.
He said: “Without a comprehensive people and digital infrastructure strategy in place, we risk falling behind in hot areas, such as nanotechnology, Internet of Things, and driverless cars.”
Simon Acott, business and partner development director at British cloud and network provider Exponential-e, agreed more must be done to develop the IT workforce.
He said: “If tech talent is to be fostered across the whole of the nation, the Government must ensure that training programmes and apprenticeships are developed outside the M25.
“Young businessmen and women should be given a supportive environment in which to develop the high-level business competences required to succeed.
“A strong skills-based strategy will be key to fostering a new generation of British entrepreneurs. In turn, this ensures the UK can continue to compete in the global economy.”
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