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The growth of a diverse and talented technology community within the North West of England

As part of our investment under our global strategy, The New Equation, we recently announced our plans to create 1,000 technology focused jobs over three years in our new Technology Centre in Manchester.

We know that there is not enough supply of technology talent currently to meet the growing demand.

We don’t want our expansion plans in Manchester to exacerbate the problem. We want to play a role in solving this important challenge and in contributing technology talent to the market, as we have done across the accounting and consulting professions. This goes right to the heart of our purpose at PwC to build trust in society and solve important problems.

Our first step has been to commission this work by The University of Salford to help us to frame the problem and potential areas of targeted intervention by businesses such as ours. This work focussed on three key areas:

The structural imbalance between supply and demand for technology talent;

How technology roles/sectors are serving diverse communities, with a particular focus on women and ethnic minorities (and in particular Black talent) and neurodiverse talent; and

The level of fragmentation in the system and whether this will be a barrier to achieving a different outcome at scale for the Greater Manchester region.

This report shows not only the scale of the problem, but also the opportunity. We feel hopeful that the problem is solvable and are excited by the potential for the region. We strongly believe that addressing this problem in collaboration with others will allow progress to be made at a greater scale than we could do individually, which is critical to ensuring success at the scale and pace we all need to ensure the region fulfils its potential for growth.

Challenges

 technology red

Globally, 9 out of the top 10 roles where demand is increasing are technology-related.

 growth economy red

In Manchester specifically, the number of technology jobs more than doubled in 2021 (164.6% increase).

 employee red

Only 1 in 4 tech roles are held by females.

 software red

The typical route into technology roles is undergraduate study, where the increase in technology degree university places falls well short of the increase in demand for technologists.

Opportunities

 people audience teamwork red

Increase in the population of 18-year olds in 2021, following a demographic decline of 5,155 (6.2%) between 2017 and 2020 in the North West, meaning there are more people available to meet the demand.

 data economy red

Positive trends in the subjects studied at A Level, with increases in science-based subjects, including a significant 10% increase in students studying Computing A Level between 2020 and 2021.

 location red

The North West region is one where graduates stay and also return to for work.

 laptop red

Jobs will be disrupted by digitisation and this creates an opportunity for this to be a new pool of potential talent available to be reskilled.

Contact us

Ben Higgin

Ben Higgin

Head of Technology and Investments, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)20 7213 3901

Rachael  Joyce

Rachael Joyce

Director, PwC United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0)7841569306

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