• Fraser Harper

Counting Digital Jobs and Skills

Most countries have a digital strategy and policies around promoting innovation and skills. But how many digital jobs are there? And how many digital skills are there?

Let’s take several recent additions to the digital skills development policy arena. The table below shows a series of national digital skills frameworks and categorisation of occupations. While in all cases they are seeking to cover only digital skills and technologies, they don’t agree on how best to split them up, nor how best to define them.

Digital Skills and OccupationsSourceSkillsOccupationsSkills Future, Singapore 7 groups and 127 rolesSkills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA)/British Computer Society (BCS)6 categories and 102 skills Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE), UK 19 standards approved (28 identified) with 3 pathways and 14 clusters plus 18 related digital standards in 6 other occupational mapsCareer Clusters, USA 4 pathways and 19 clustersDigital Skills Clusters, Nesta, UK54 clusters identifiedOccupations mapped as regards digital intensity

If we try and look at employment numbers, we also find a difficulty in reaching a definitive number. Taking Scotland as an example, we see the difficulty in using the current Standard Industrial and Standard Occupation Classifications in estimating the size of the digital technologies’ workforce.

The Digital Technologies Workforce, ScotlandKey

D = A + B

E = A + B + C

F = A + CTotal Digital Technologies professional in the economy (D)


Total Digital Technologies industry professionals

46,800 (F)Digital Technologies professionals in the industry (A)


Digital Technologies professionals in other sectors (B)

55,000Non-Digital Technologies professions in the industry (C)



Other workers in the Digital Technologies industryTotal Digital Technologies professional workforce (E)


Source: Scotland’s Digital Technologies: Research and Analysis Report, 2017 using Annual Population Survey, ONS

Looking at this from a different start point, there are 60,000 people in the digital sectors workforce in Scotland, plus a further 30,000 digital jobs in other non-digital sectors. If we include related-digital jobs, we can add a further 21,400 jobs.  This gives us a total of 111,400.

In the West Midlands the digital sector also covers much of those in creative and design occupations too which is implied in Tables 1 and 2.

Perhaps there is a worthwhile task here to pull these various skills, occupation and sector definitions together, to help all stakeholders in the digital community identify what they are seeking to develop and promote.

#Digitalskills #Occupationalclusters #Skillsclusters

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