Tech Is Where the Jobs Are

What we can learn from London’s digital skills ecosystem

Photo courtesy of Todd Asher

Below is the foreword I wrote for a new report published by the Centre for London. The full report can be viewed here.

Digital skills are essential to the growth of the tech sector, and by extension the growth of London. There are more people working in the technology and information sector in London and the surrounding regions than in all of California. The sector is an economic engine for London, and to fuel its continued growth, Londoners, beginning with primary school students, must be equipped with the digital skills needed to be a part of this success.

It’s well documented that London is facing a serious skills gap, with more tech jobs available than skilled workers to fill them. And it’s not only tech jobs that require digital learning competency. Digital skills are a requirement in all industries to stay competitive in the 21st century economy.

Creating pathways for people to become a part of the vibrant tech ecosystem in London is essential to ensuring London’s place as a leading digital city. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Mayor Boris Johnson discussed this candidly at last year’s Bloomberg Technology Summit and it’s been a focus of my work in London over the last nine months via Bloomberg Associates, a non-profit consultancy founded by Mayor Bloomberg to help city governments improve the quality of life of their citizens.

As the Commissioner for the NYC Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment under Mayor Bloomberg, I saw first hand the need to better connect academic offerings with the needs of a quickly changing industry to produce a nimble, skilled workforce ready to benefit from the opportunities available in the digital sector. Now, at Bloomberg Associates I see this trend playing out around the world as we advise cities on how best to promote economic growth in the media and technology sectors.

Mayors know that job creation and retention are essential to the well-being of their city, and with the expanded tech and information sector accounting for 30 percent of total London job gains since 2009 it’s no secret that tech is where the jobs are. London’s technology and information sector — which includes traditional tech companies as well as related media and information companies — employs 382,000 workers, an increase of 11 percent since 2009.

The tech sector offers real economic impact and opportunity for a city and the effort of projects like this one to map out the ecosystem is an important part of the process. It will help better identify how to create viable pathways to 21st century careers.

The data in this report will help all key stakeholders — from government, to academic and industry — make more informed and strategic investments in the digital learning ecosystem. Building public-private partnerships where stakeholders can contribute their expertise and thought leadership to creating a sustainable and robust set of offerings to Londoners will position the city for success, and that’s why I am so pleased to see this report come to fruition.

About the Author: Driven by the potential for media and technology to redefine the way we communicate and approach economic development for cities, citizens, and businesses, Katherine’s ideas are guided by decades of experience in the private and public sector. Based in New York, she currently serves as a principal of Bloomberg Associates.

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