Wales sees huge increase in demand for AI and cyber skills
19th November 2020

The Welsh tech industry has seen the highest rise in demand for cyber skills across the whole of the UK.

Wales has seen the biggest increase in demand of cyber skills in the UK at 351% over the past three years – with a total of 966 tech roles requiring cyber skills in 2019. The country has also seen a 200% increase in demand for AI jobs over the past three years, the second largest rise after Northern Ireland.

The findings came in a new report from Tech Nation, the growth platform for tech companies and leaders, which has revealed insights into the international talent landscape and provides an update on the Global Talent Visa for Digital Technology.

Demand for the Tech Nation Global Talent Visa has continued to rise, with a growth of 45% and 48% in the past two consecutive years. It is expected to rise in 2021 as, from January, the Tech Nation Visa will be opening up applications to exceptional tech talent from the EU. In 2020, the Global Talent Visa has enabled 421 founders to set up businesses in the UK, up from 400 in 2019.

This global talent is distributed right across the UK, as 41% of endorsed applicants for the visa are based outside of London, working in the UK's strong regional tech hubs.

AI & machine learning is one of the most popular sector destinations for Global Talent Visa holders, reflecting continued demand for tech skills in this area.

John Davies, chair of Cyber Wales, said: “The Tech Nation Global Talent Visa not only makes it easier for global cyber talent to find its way to where it is needed most, it also provides hard facts about where the growing demand is for that talent.

“Cyber Wales has collaboration agreements with ecosystems in 30 countries and this includes innovations from our business community, world-leading research from our academic community and vital co-operative relationships from our law enforcement and military communities. If you are keen to stretch your cyber wings and work with some of the best cyber organisations in the World, then Tech Nation's research has provided you with the answer - come to Wales!

Chris Ganje, the CEO of AMPLYFI, says that for his company access to world-leading talent is its number one priority and these statistics, driven by the support of special talent visas, shows that Wales is a talent hotspot, not just in the UK, but globally.

Mr Ganje said: “We work with firms seeking to scale AI capabilities across their operations, a trend that will only be boosted by digital transformation of customers, supply chains and industries. A trend AMPLYFI is in a prime position to support, thanks to the infrastructure provided in the UK.

Tech Nation says the data shows there has been a 200% increase in the volume of users in the UK searching online for terms explicitly related to 'UK tech visas' between April and September 20201 reflecting profound shifts in the labour market. This surge in interest to work in the UK's digital tech sector is reflected globally too, with a 100% increase in users internationally searching for these terms in countries like the US and India.

Stephen Kelly, chair of Tech Nation, said: “The UK is a global talent magnet for Tech founders. The UK provides rich opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up, flourish and scale a business. The Global Talent Visa is crucial to making this process easy and accessible.

“Tech Nation's Visa Report shows that, despite the pandemic, international interest to work in the UK tech sector has never been higher. Attracting tomorrow's tech leaders to the UK is crucial to the continued growth of the sector, the UK's place in the world, and driving the nation through recovery to growth in the digital age.

Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage added: “It's no surprise the UK's world-beating technology sector appeals to international talent. Our dynamic companies reflect the UK's long-standing reputation for innovation and are renowned on the global stage."

“We are open to the brightest and the best talent, and this visa scheme makes it easier for companies across the country to recruit the talent they need to grow.

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