Press Release  | 

The Travel Tech sector has generated nearly 800 job offers in Catalonia over the last year, despite the pandemic

  • The ‘Talent and Tourism: digital talent in the Travel Tech sector’ report takes a look at the sector in Catalonia over the last year to pinpoint the main challenges regarding digital talent

  • The ICT Tourism sector in Catalonia employs over 5,000 technology professionals, most of whom are concentrated in Barcelona province

  • Digital profiles have a long and promising future. Many are not over 30 years old and they usually earn more than the average for digital salaries

Barcelona, 17 December 2020. – The Travel Tech sector is faced with numerous challenges associated with digitalization. This is one of the conclusions reached by the study ‘Talent and Tourism: digital talent in the Travel Tech sector’, which was presented this morning. The report, which is based on data collected from October 2019 to September 2020, was compiled upon the initiative of the Directorate General for Tourism and ACCIÓ, within the ICT Tourism cluster initiative, and of Mobile World Capital Barcelona, the Ministry for Digital Policy of the Regional Government of Catalonia, and the Technological Circle of Catalonia, as part of the Barcelona Digital Talent alliance.

The Travel Tech sector, which is also known as ICT Tourism, is not unaffected by the situation being experienced by digital talent in Catalonia, and specifically in Barcelona, which concentrates most of these profiles (89.9%). The sector employs over 5,000 technology professionals, which is equivalent to 7% of the more than 76,000 digital professionals in the economy of Catalonia. In addition, over the last few months 766 job offers have been generated in this sector, despite the circumstances caused by the pandemic.

ICT Tourism in Catalonia includes 371 companies, most of which are SMEs (76%). They employ a total of 9,100 workers and invoice over 1,000 million euros. These companies work in fields that include travel technology, consultancy, reservations management, connectivity, and software for managing establishments.

Although only 7.8% of the Travel Tech sector ecosystem is formed by large corporations, these major companies employ over 52% of digital professionals on the market, while 36% work for medium-sized companies. Over 50% of digital workers in the sector work for companies that develop their own technology for the tourism sector. Nearly 40% work for technology consulting firms that provide services to companies in the tourism sector while the rest offer services to tourism operators that use technology to reach their customers, such as hotel groups and online travel agents (OTAs).

The most sought-after profiles

Over 50% of digital professionals in the Travel Tech sector work as Software Developers. Each offer for a position as a Software Developer receives an average of 8 applications. In addition, labour market tension increases for high-demand, low-supply positions such as System Software Developers, Web Developers and Search Marketing Strategists, for which there is a ratio of 1 or 2 potential candidates for each job offer published.

The digital profiles most sought-after by companies in the ICT Tourism sector are Frontend Developer and Backend Developer, which account for 19.59% and 22.04% respectively of all the digital job offers issued in the sector over the last 12 months. There is particularly high demand for developers with experience in JavaScript (and its React open-source code library) and Python languages, which are required in over 40% of job offers.

Covid-19 has played an important part in the decrease in the hiring of digital talent in the ICT Tourism sector. From December 2019, the number of offers published started to fall. The lowest figure was reached in July 2020. Nonetheless, the data do not show a sharper fall than in other sectors.

The UPC (Polytechnic University of Catalonia) stands out over and above other centres of education for training digital professionals in the Travel Tech sector and accounts for 21.49% of the total. Then come the Autonomous University of Barcelona (10.37%), the UOC (Open University of Catalonia) (9.43%), the University of Barcelona (6.35%) and Pompeu Fabra University (5.92%).

Gender and salary gap

As in the digital sector, there is also a gender gap in ICT Tourism, where 28% of professionals are female. This figure is, however, 2 percentage points higher than the ICT sector average of 26%. Women account for the highest percentage of total jobs (47%) in the position of Search Marketing Strategist.

Data from the study show that this sector has  a long and promising future, as 60% of workers are currently under 30 years old. Database Administrators and Computer Programmers have the youngest profiles,  with an average age of 26 and 27, respectively.

The average salary for digital professionals in all ICT sectors is €37,510. Ten of the twelve most popular positions in the Travel Tech sector earn more than this figure. Devops Engineer is the profession with the highest average salary, a gross of €52,594 per annum.

Solutions to challenges

The study considers different lines of action for encouraging the process of digitalization in the tourism sector, in which Catalonia is a benchmark both as a destination and in training professionals. Establishing a strategy to attract and to retain digital talent requires the identification of the technological skills needed to build value for business, the development of a clear vision of present and future needs for talent, and a focus on finding specialized talent.

Joint sectoral work through the ICT Tourism cluster, in keeping with approaches to work of clusters internationally, may offer a chance to broaden outlooks and to establish a joint training proposal that resolves the following major challenges: to promote technological vocations among tourism sector professionals, to encourage the ongoing training of the talent of companies in the sector, to nurture female digital talent in the ICT Tourism sector, to understand the evolution of technologies with a present and future impact in the sector and to attract talent from other geographical zones.

A new cluster in Catalonia

This report is part of the process to create a new ICT Tourism cluster in Catalonia by the Ministry of Business and Knowledge -through ACCIÓ – and the Directorate General for Tourism. It is being established with a view to grouping together companies with hybrid business models that combine technology and tourism, targeted at other companies or at the end consumer, together with stakeholders from the technology and knowledge ecosystem such as universities and technology centres.

The cluster is intended to boost and to provide a stimulus for these companies in the Catalan tourism sector, an industry that in recent years has experienced a growing digitalization of services through the incorporation of technologies such as big data, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things. Over the coming months, implementation of the cluster’s plan of action will continue with the appointment of a governing board and a cluster manager in 2021.