One in five northern businesses surveyed by Manchester Digital employed no women at all.
The audit conducted by independent trade association Manchester Digital found that men are still dominating the majority of technical roles in the industry with seven males for every three females now filling these positions.
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The survey also revealed that almost two in five digital businesses in the North (37 per cent) have turned away work over the past year due to a severe lack of resource, a new skills audit has found.
Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital, said: “The results of our digital skills audit revealed a number of issues we continue to face year on year – and unsurprisingly, many of those shortcomings are related to talent, or lack of.
“While not as many businesses turned down work due to lack of talent last year, 37 per cent still did – a figure that can’t be ignored. The digital industry is booming, but now it’s absolutely critical that we develop and nurture the next generation of talent, in order to support the sheer amount of work our businesses are having to cope with.”
A quarter of companies said they had to outsource work outside of the EU as they could not find the talent to fulfil it in the UK and had to turn down up to £50,000 worth of new business over the past year due to this lack of resource.
The audit revealed found a growth in the use of apprentices in the sector, with almost half of Northern digital businesses having taken on apprentices in the past three years.
The results of the audit were revealed at the Digital Skills Festival, taking place in Manchester this week (9-12 February 2016), which attempts to combat the skills shortage in the region.
Gallagher continued: “With the digital skills gap still apparent, events like our skills festival are absolutely crucial to ensuring emerging talent in the region is introduced to those businesses that are crying out for talent. It’s now the responsibility of businesses, education providers, and policy makers alike, to join up the dots and ensure we’re doing everything we can to help the industry thrive as it should.
“As is the case every year, the conversations we have at the skills festival, teamed with the findings of our skills audit, influence the agenda and shape the work we do over the coming year.
“Our top priority has always been getting the right results for our members, so responding to their feedback accordingly and applying our expertise to shape policy and drive change is something we’ll continue to prioritise.”