Digital Sector Drives Jobs Growth

The Scottish workforce should grow more than the UK average over the next decade, with new jobs emerging in digital industries, according to a report.

Forecasts estimate GDP growth will fall slightly this year but opportunities in software engineering, programming and IT support will increase employment in coming years.

PwC's latest UK Economic Outlook said almost 6% of Scottish jobs are based in digital industries that did not exist 25 years ago.

The sector is only slightly behind London and ahead of some of the other UK regions including Manchester, Wales and Merseyside.

The report predicts that Scotland's workforce will grow by 7.2% over the next decade, above the UK average of 6%.

Paul Brewer, head of government and public sector, PwC in Scotland, said: "Universities have a vital role in establishing successful digital hubs.

"Edinburgh, for instance, is one of six UK universities to rank in the top 10 for computer science outside of London, with others including Southampton, Cambridge and Manchester.

"Our research notes that Stanford alumni have created around 40,000 companies and over five million jobs in the US.

"What is to stop leading universities in Scotland and the UK securing similar success as dynamic catalysts for innovation and growth?''

The PwC report also said there are signs that the pace of growth in the housing market across the UK was starting to ease.

Mr Brewer said: "Our UKEO estimates growth of 2.3% in 2015, which is marginally below the UK average of 2.5% and ahead of the north east of England, Northern Ireland and Wales.

"It is also below the recent Fraser of Allander Institute forecast for GDP growth of 2.6% in 2015; an upward revision to their November 2014 forecasts, reflecting evidence of a strengthening of the recovery in investment in particular.

"There is no doubt that lower oil prices and falling inflation have given a boost to household disposable incomes and with inflation at 0.3%, most workers have received what equates to a real-terms pay increase.

"The significant footprint of the oil and gas sector in Scotland will restrain the impact of this on Scotland's overall growth.

"However, recovery is being driven by jobs rather than productivity and productivity growth will be critical in enabling wages to recover without driving up inflation in the medium-term.''

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