Alphabet chief financial officer Ruth Porat has warned ongoing digital skill shortages risk stunting economic growth.
“There is a strong economic need for more skills for the critical digital transformation,”the Silicon Valley exec told The Times, adding that Google clients complain about a “dearth of talent”.
According to a 2016 select committee report, a lack of technology talent is estimated to have cost the UK economy £63bn.
Government figures also suggest there was a 50 per cent rise in technology job vacancies advertised last year, but with almost half of employers struggling to fill the posts.
Discussing the social importance of developing skill sets beyond university education, Porat told The Times : “We need to bring in traditionally underrepresented groups, which includes women and other demographic groups, and it is a critical part of seeing everyone has opportunities”.
“I think you have polarisation in society and resistance to change when people can’t see they’re a part of the changing economy.”
Just this week, ministers unveiled plans to boost the UK’s tech sector and spur investment into the digital economy in a bid to cement the country “as a global tech superpower”.
Commenting on the announcement, digital minister Chris Philp said:“Just as Thatcher unleashed the power of the market to transform our economy in the 1980s, unleashing the power of the tech sector will transform our economy today.
“In the last five years the UK has raced ahead of Europe to become a global tech leader and now we’re setting the course for the future.”
The new plans, the first update to the UK’s digital strategy since 2017, will look to “strengthen [the UK’s] global position as a science and technology superpower”.
Google also announced it would be working with businesses to offer recognised certificates for training in areas where there is high demand, including data analytics and IT support.