Press Release  | 

The digital sector in Catalonia is making its niche as a driving force for job creation, with a 12.8% increase in professionals in the market

  • According to the Digital Talent Overview 2021 report, the digital sector in Catalonia accounts for 18.9% of all job offers, twice that of two years ago

  • In the district of Barcelona, the presence of women stands at 29%, which is 2.5 percent up on 2019 and reinforces the upward trend

Barcelona, 15 July 2021.- Catalonia is strengthening its position as a pool of technological talent in terms of number of jobs and of salary and qualified students. This is just one of the conclusions reached by the Digital Talent Overview 2021 report produced by Mobile World Capital Barcelona, Cercle Tecnològic de Catalunya and the Ministry of the Vice Presidency and for Digital Policy and Territory of the Regional Government of Catalonia as part of the Barcelona Digital Talent initiative, a public-private alliance working on fighting the current digital talent gap to promote market competitiveness.

The event to present the report included speeches by the Director-General for Digital Society at the Regional Government of Catalonia, Joana Barbany; the Director of the Digital Talent programme for Mobile World Capital Barcelona and spokesperson for Barcelona Digital Talent, Jordi Arrufí; the Chairman of Cercle Tecnològic de Catalunya (CTecno), Joan Ramon Barrera; the CEO and co-founder of Nuclio Digital School, Jared Gil; and the Managing Director of Accenture Capability Network, Joan Sendra.

The digital sector is the driving force for job creation in Catalonia and Europe

The digital sector continues to push forward in job creation. From 2011 to 2019, employment of ICT specialists grew by 40% in Europe, in stark contrast with the modest figures for job creation worldwide which stood at 6.9% for all sectors during this same period.

In 2020, ICT professionals accounted for 4% of all active workers throughout Europe. Catalonia stands around the European average, but is still a far cry from more advanced countries such as Finland (7.2%) and Sweden (6,8%), where there is greater penetration by these professionals in their markets.

The ICT sector in Catalonia created 14,700 new jobs in 2020 to amount to 129,000 professionals. This evolution is a 12.8% rise in comparison with the last quarter of 2019. The trend is very different to the 3.1% fall in employment in the Spanish ICT sector.

Barcelona, at the forefront of digital talent

By late 2020, Catalonia recorded over 88,000 digital professionals, 95% of whom were concentrated in the province of Barcelona, which also accounted for 97% of all digital job offers during the last quarter of 2020.

The offer of talent has increased, while the number of vacancies has reduced due to the pandemic. The Barcelona ecosystem spawned 6,700 new professionals in 2020, an annual increase of 9% in the overall volume of digital talent. Job offers in this sector stand at around 4,000 positions per quarter, which is a similar figure to that of 2018 but 15% down on 2019. However, this decline is far below the global average for job offers, which fell by 43% compared with the previous year. The ratio between offers in the digital sector and those of the remaining sectors has increase: in 2018, one out of every ten offers was in the digital sector and, in 2020, two out of every ten (representing 18.9%).

Barcelona continues to attract talent from other cities, but at a slower rate. More than 24,600 digital professionals in the Barcelona ecosystem are from other cities (29,27%). In 2020, Barcelona imported nearly 1,733 professionals, down on the 4,083 attracted in 2019. London and Madrid are the main exporting cities, accounting for a total of 20% of the talent from other cities.

Almost half of all European ICT professionals show an interest in working outside their country of origin. The main motivation for workers from northern Europe is to increase their personal experience, whereas the search for career opportunities prevails in southern Europe, and improved salary perspectives in Eastern countries. London, Amsterdam, Dubai and Berlin are the most attractive cities for international ICT talent.

The gross salary of digital professionals in Barcelona stands at €37,692, slightly up on that of 2019 and around €7,000 higher than the gross average salary of all professionals in the city of Barcelona (€30,807). Although this figure is a far cry from cities such as London (€69,330), it can be compared with cities such as Paris or Amsterdam when relating salary to the cost of living.

Digital talent in Barcelona specialises in the areas of web and mobile app development, UX/UI design, and CRM and ERP consultants. These four specialities employ over 61,000 professionals, 73% of the city’s technological talent. The specialities with least digital talent are cybersecurity, agile development methods, the Internet of Things, blockchain, and computer vision.

The presence of women is growing, but the gender gap remains a challenge in the digital sector

The proportion of women employed in digital positions in Barcelona stands at 29%, which is a 2.5 percent increase on that of 2019. Despite this, the indicator shows plenty of room for improvement and proves that the gender gap remains one of the major challenges for the sector.

In Europe, the countries employing most female ICT professionals are: Bulgaria, Greece, Romania, Finland, Latvia, and Denmark. The first stands well ahead of the group with 28.2%, almost two percentage points ahead of Greece, which has experienced the highest growth rate over the past decade (from 19% to 26.5%), way above the general growth rate of 1.5%. The average of European countries is 19.5%, which Spain surpasses slightly with 19.8%

The number of students enrolling and graduating in ICT vocational training and university degrees has increased 

The interest in digital training increases year after year. In 2020, 1,735 ICT students graduated from Catalan universities, which is an increase of more than 5% compared with the previous year. Vocational training has become a real driving force behind the development of ICT talent: in 2020, 2,700 students graduated from these studies, which is 20.5% higher than the previous year. The low demand among women (only 7% of all enrolments) remains one of the main challenges for these studies.
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