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Accenture study shows rising demand for cloud, AI and robotics skills

Apr 22
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UK employers have shown rising demand for cloud, artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics skills in the past year, even though the overall number of technology job listings has declined, according to research by Accenture.

The company's UK Tech Talent Tracker, which analysed professional network data from LinkedIn, showed that cloud computing was the most in-demand technology skill over the last 12 months.

This was one of the many consequences of COVID-19, as companies became increasingly reliant on cloud computing to enable remote working and support business transformation efforts in response to the pandemic.

Other findings showed there were approximately 6,800 advertised roles asking for AI expertise - marking a 73 per cent increase over the course of six months - while the number of available robotics jobs rose by almost two-thirds to more than 3,000.

There was particularly strong demand for people with robotics skills in the north of England, with the number of posts requiring a knowledge of this subject growing substantially in Newcastle (+450 per cent), Leeds (+253 per cent) and Liverpool (+115 per cent).

Allan King, managing director of Accenture's UK Advanced Technology Centre in Newcastle, said this is a sign that the industrial sector in the north is "looking to innovate its way to recovery".

"However, the demand for technology skills across the UK is still unbalanced, despite expectations that home-working could help diversify the economy," he added.

Other regional findings showed that Cambridge remains the country's strongest AI hub outside London, while employers in Oxford, London, Manchester and Edinburgh have all shown greater demand for quantum computing skills.

Nationwide, business requirements for blockchain and quantum capabilities rose by 50 per cent and 46 per cent respectively last year.

Discussing the overarching trends, Shaheen Sayed, Accenture's technology lead for the UK and Ireland, said companies have been pressing ahead with their cloud migrations "quicker than anyone could have imagined" and are rapidly digitalising their processes to take full advantage of technology.

She added: "As more businesses seek to hire cloud, AI and robotics talent, experienced professionals are learning new skills to keep on top of the changing technology landscape and enhance their marketability."

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