Government looks to fill thousands of tech roles

Government says it plans to recruit 2,500 tech and digital roles as part of skills drive; looks to bring in skills from the private sector

Posted 4 October 2023 by Christine Horton

The Cabinet Office has announced plans to recruit 2,500 people into digital roles in government by June 2025 through new apprenticeship and early talent programmes.

The initiative is being kickstarted, it says, by a new digital apprenticeship programme, which will support the recruitment of 500 early career entrants into digital roles this financial year across government.

The Cabinet Office says the new programme will provide the opportunity for both civil servants and new entrants to be recruited into the most in demand data and technology roles, such as cybersecurity professionals and software developers.

The remaining 2,000 opportunities will include 1,300 additional digital apprenticeship programme roles, and 700 roles created through an expansion of existing departmental digital programmes, such as the Software Developer Programme.

Digital skills shortage presents risk to government

Elsewhere, a new Digital Secondments Programme scheme aims to “call back to work” the UK’s best technical talents to work on the country’s biggest challenges, such as cybersecurity and emerging technology.

The government says the Civil Service Digital, Data and Technology profession has grown by 19 percent between April 2022 and April 2023, and more than 600 senior civil servants have been upskilled on digital and data essentials.

Digital skills shortages in the civil service are likely to see increased risks and costs to government, according to a recent report by the Public Accounts Committee (PAC). The number of digital, data and technology professionals in the civil service is around 4.5 percent, according to Government estimates. This is less than half the number it needs when compared to an equivalent industry average of between eight percent and 12 percent.

The Cabinet Office says both the digital secondments programme and new apprenticeship recruitment drive will also support a new target for six percent of the overall civil service workforce to be members of the digital, data and technology profession.

The government cites 2022 figures stating that estimated potential savings of more than £1 billion of taxpayer money through the digital transformation of services, by eliminating the unnecessary costs of paper-based services and processes.