Research from ScotlandIS, the trade body for the digital technologies industry in Scotland, is forecasting strong growth for the industry north of the border.
ScotlandIS said 83 percent of organisations are planning to increase staff numbers and 86 percent of businesses are expecting sales to rise in the coming year. There is also good news for computer science students approaching their final exams, with high demand for graduates.
The annual survey of 150 organisations, carried out on behalf of ScotlandIS by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, also found that Scottish businesses are undertaking a significant amount of international activity, with Europe, the US and Canada seen as the most attractive overseas markets for the second year running.
Polly Purvis, CEO of ScotlandIS, said: “This is great news for a vibrant industry which is going from strength to strength. There has never been a better time to get into software and IT.
“For young people considering their career options our industry offers huge opportunities, from founding your own tech startup to international marketing as Scottish technology businesses increasingly move into global markets.”
While Purvis cautioned that a shortage of skilled people could stop the industry “reaching its full potential” she said work was underway to address the problem.
“The skills gap is beginning to hit home, causing wage inflation and making it harder for companies to retain experience, so we are pleased to see the public sector and our members working together to find a solution," she said.
“We welcomed initiatives such as the Skills Investment Plan for Scotland’s Digital Technologies and ICT Industries, and we are glad to see that its recommendations are being put into action. By dealing with this problem now we will ensure that our industry is able to continue to grow and contribute to the Scottish economy.”
The survey found that 70 percent of businesses saw sales growth in 2014, with the strongest results coming from small and medium sized companies. And 42 percent of businesses reported increased margins with a further 36 percent reporting “stable” profit margins during 2014.
Some 80,000 people are said to work in the digital technologies industry in Scotland, which is estimated to contribute £4 billion GVA (gross value added) to the economy, and increasingly adding to export revenues.
Growing major Scottish digital firms include travel booking company Skyscanner and fantasy league sporting operation FanDuel.