The Autumn Statement and the Future of the Scottish Tech Sector

Hamilton Forth’s Rachel Sim considers the impact of the Autumn Statement and its impact on the Scottish Tech sector.

The Scottish Government has released its Autumn Statement, which details the Government’s plans for the economy and budgets based on the latest economic forecasts.

Given the significant economic and political challenges the country and the global economy have faced over the past few years, there are significant budgetary adjustments that have to be made to ensure the country can navigate this turbulent time.

Between the Covid-19 pandemic, the war in Ukraine, the UK’s leadership changes, and the risk of a recession, it can be difficult to understand how organisations will survive the next 12 months. We have already seen energy prices soar and interest rates increase. “The International Monetary Fund (IMF) expects a third of the global economy to fall into recession this year or next”; a daunting thought.

The Autumn statement suggested how the Government will prioritise “stability, growth and public services” over the next 12 months. In order to achieve this, the Government and organisations need to understand where to invest and where to cut back.

Optimism in the Face of Challenge

I recently attended the Digital Strategy for Scotland event hosted by Scotland IS. The event featured talks from the Scottish Government’s Philip Whitely, Deborah Amzil and Geoff Huggins. Despite the challenges the Government faces, the speakers were optimistic about 2023, reminding us of how quickly many organisations were able to pivot and adapt their offerings during the pandemic to ensure survival.

In many cases, this was done through a shift to delivering products and services digitally. Digital transformation and investment were a lifeline for organisations during the pandemic. Adopting this approach in 2023 is likely to be key to surviving the recession as well.

Continued Investment in Technology

Tech investment will be in the form of both infrastructure and systems, as well as in skilled professionals. The Scottish Government have already made significant strides in moving to a digital offering, with residents able to access public services such as their pensions, online identity profiles, book appointments, and pay bills online.

While creating these digital provisions is a great first step, the Government must now ensure they overcome barriers to access such as digital poverty, digital literacy challenges and the provision of devices. Jeremy Hunt suggested that Rural and remote areas will be key areas for investment in order to maximise connectivity.

The Technology Workforce

From a workforce perspective, to enable organisations to effectively execute technical advancements which create competitive advantages, they must have the right skillsets in place to implement this. This means that having a recruitment strategy in place as early as possible in 2023 will be of high importance. Thereafter, continuous development of technical skillsets will be key to long-term growth and development.

Although the economic forecast currently looks challenging, with short-term investment in tech and skilled technical professionals, organisations will be in a strong position to overcome the challenges of 2023.

To discuss developing your tech team for 2023, or to find out about market opportunities please contact [email protected]

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