Alphabet director warns skills shortages could hold back economy as UK vows to become a ‘global tech superpower’

Saturday, June 18, 2022 12:26 PM

Alphabet’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, has warned that the current shortage of digital skills risks stunting economic growth.

“There is a strong economic need for more skills for critical digital transformation,” said Silicon Valley executive The temperatureadding that Google customers complain of a “talent shortage”.

According to a 2016 select committee report, a lack of tech talent is estimated to have cost the UK economy £63 billion.

Government figures also suggest there was a 50% increase in advertised tech vacancies last year, but nearly half of employers are struggling to fill vacancies.

Just this week, ministers unveiled plans to boost Britain’s tech sector and boost investment in the digital economy in a bid to cement the country “as a global tech superpower”.

Commenting on the announcement, Digital Minister Chris Philp said: “Just as Thatcher unleashed the power of the market to transform our economy in the 1980s, unleashing the power of the technology sector will transform our economy today.

“Over the past five years, the UK has overtaken Europe to become a global technology leader and now we are setting the course for the future.”

The new plans, the first update to the UK’s digital strategy since 2017, will aim to “strengthen [the UK’s] global position as a scientific and technological superpower”.

Google also announced that it will work with companies to offer recognized certificates for training in high-demand areas, including data analytics and IT support.

Discussing the social importance of developing skill sets beyond university education, Porat said The temperature “We need to include traditionally underrepresented groups, which include women and other demographics, and that’s a key part of ensuring everyone has opportunities.”

“I think you have a polarization in society and a resistance to change when people can’t see that they are part of the changing economy.”

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