The current dominance of London and the South East in Tech Industry occupations threatens to further skew the growth of employment in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries in coming years, according to research by jobs market experts Emsi commissioned by education charity EDT. Regions will need to decide how best to retain local young people in STEM roles. Contributor Julie Feest, CEO – EDT.
In an analysis of projected jobs growth by occupation between 2016 and 2024, nine of the ten fastest growing occupations in Great Britain are forecast to be in Tech industry occupations. A parallel analysis of the concentration of tech industry occupations in different regions, using a location concentration indicator for each occupation in each region, shows that these tech occupations are currently heavily concentrated in London and the South East.
This means that if the rest of the country are to take proper advantage of the growth of tech in the future economy they must either take sector share off London and South East, or they may decide to encourage their young people in to other STEM occupations in which they have more of an advantage.
The other regions can show some advantages in non-tech fast growing STEM occupations elsewhere in the top 20 fastest growth occupations. However, if as projected, the fastest UK growth is going to be dominated by tech industries, then STEM employment growth will continue to be dominated by London and the South East to the disadvantage of the rest of Britain.
Those of us who are working to prepare young people for employment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution need to think carefully about the trends these figures reveal. At first sight, to equip young people for the new jobs that will be available in coming years, it seems obvious to give them experiences of industry which help them seize opportunities in Tech.
However, if London and South East continue to dominate in Tech, then we can expect to continue to see the brightest and best of our young people head to those regions for employment, rather than staying to fuel the economy in their region of origin.
If they don’t compete in Tech, then regions away from London and the South East might be best advised to give young people experiences of industry in other growing STEM industry sectors in which their area has an advantage. Doing this would enable local industry to grab its opportunity to attract local talent as well as keeping able people in the local economy.