A leading tech expert has said the sector must rise to the challenge of skills shortages rather than complain about the problem.

There has been criticism of the education system for failing to equip graduates with relevant and up-to-date skills needed to succeed in industry.

Key figures in the Newcastle tech cluster, for example, told BusinessCloud that the skills shortage is beginning to bite - and that the problem is not limited to the North East.

The skills gap is now being felt by businesses across the board – and it seems to be widening.

Graham Pearce is technology, media and telecommunications lead at KPMG North.

Speaking at a 'tech in the Northern Powerhouse' event at the International Festival for Business , he said: “Wellington is the capital city of New Zealand. There are 300,000 people living there and they’ve got 2.5 unicorns.

“They’re on a rock in the Pacific, four hours from Australia. They have a massive brain drain but they just do it and make it happen.

“When you’re a tech business in the world there’s always going to be a shortage of talent and that’s not a good enough excuse.

“When you’re sitting in Silicon Valley you’re inundated with developers looking for jobs.

“You have to pay them more to prise them to your company.”

Pearce said the north was awash with brilliant tech stories, including Rockstar Leeds, which worked on the video game Grand Theft Auto V.

“Businesses like Anaplan, which began life in York, Sky Betting & Gaming and Sage, which is another unicorn, are all fantastic businesses doing ground-breaking work on a global scale,” he said.

“In 20 years there will be no ‘tech’ because tech will be everywhere. The digital revolution is happening.

“You can be a software engineer and get a job in a supermarket or a manufacturing business.”

 

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