Part 2: Tech skills /

Use of tech skills


Using LinkedIn insights on business functions, we can build a picture of how tech skills are used by groups of jobs – like Engineering, for instance, which is comprised of engineers, developers and technicians. Roles are grouped together, based on their skills they are made up of, to give us a sense of how they work together in functions – or, to put it another way, functions are the way that members use their skills in combination with others to perform a task (or set of tasks) within a business. By understanding functional areas as groups of skills, we can paint a picture of the skills that are used in combination. This is important, as reforms to education systems – from schools to lifelong learning – have historically focused on developing discreet knowledge domains, including subject areas like STEM, rather than viewing these subjects in combination.

Tech skills are being used across a range of functions, including Information Technology (15%), Business Development (9%), Arts and Design (7%), Sales (7%) and Education (3%).

Top functions worked in by LinkedIn members with tech skills

Proportion of LinkedIn members with tech skills (%) Function
Information Technology 15%
 Engineering  14%
 Business Development  9%
Operations 8%
Sales 7%
Arts and Design 7%
Programme and Project 6%
Entrepreneurship 4%
Finance 3%
Consulting 3%
Education 3%
Marketing 3%
Media and Comms 2%

These functions are important not just for digital tech businesses, as evidenced by Tech Nation, but right across the economy – and are not sector specific – which signals that the UK should be prioritising the development of the tech skills that contribute to them in the same way that we think about the core role of literacy or numeracy.

The findings also show that tech skills are being used to drive innovation. 4% of LinkedIn members with tech skills work in the Entrepreneurship function – a fundamental part of the UK’s thriving startup ecosystem, and essential for companies to stay at the cutting edge of tech developments.


Tech skills are found across a wide range of occupations aside from the usual suspects, like Software Developers and IT Consultants (6% and 5% of LinkedIn members with tech skills, respectively), including Salespeople (6%) and Creative Designers (3%).

This shows that tech skills are not the exclusive preserve of Software professionals and IT specialists, but an integral part of the skills mix for a variety of occupations. The graph below shows the top jobs worked in by LinkedIn members with tech skills, the values describe the share of the total number of members with tech skills working in a given occupation. From roles such as Software Developer (where the proportion of members with tech skills sits at just over 6%) and Technology Manager, which are regarded as archetypal tech roles, to Sales (at 6%) and Business Development roles – the range of roles is extensive, and again, reinforces the pervasiveness of tech skills across roles, as well as functions.

Top occupations worked in by LinkedIn members with tech skills

Proportion of LinkedIn members with tech skills (%) Proportion of LinkedIn members with tech skills (%)
Software Developer 6%
Salesperson 6%
IT Consultant 5%
Project Manager 5%
IT Support Specialist 4%
Executive Director 3%
Consultant 3%
Technology Manager 3%
Creative Designer 3%
Engineer 2%
Business Owner 2%
Business Analyst 2%
Customer Service Specialist 2%
IT System Administrator 2%
Business Strategist 2%
Operations Specialist 2%
Administrative Employee 2%
Marketing Specialist 1%
Corporate Finance Specialist 1%
Business Development Specialist 1%

Creative Designers make up  3% of LinkedIn members with tech skills – which is important for the innovation in UK firms. Research conducted on the fusion of art and science skills in UK firms suggests that there are unique business performance benefits when creative and tech skills are combined. Firms show 8% higher sales growth than science-only firms, and are 2% more likely to bring radical innovations to market 1. This suggests that the impact of tech skills should be considered across the economy, and not in isolation.


  1. Siepel, J., Camerani, R., Pellegrino, G., and Masucci, M. (2016) The Fusion Effect: the economic returns to combining arts and science skills. London: Nesta. [Available at:

Mobility between sectors

Tech skills are transferable – 36% of members now working in tech moved from non-tech jobs. 6.6% moved from Professional Services, 5% from Financial Services and Insurance and 3% from Media and Entertainment.

The use of tech skills right across the economy points to their importance for critical sectors like the creative industries. For Media and Entertainment, in particular, there is evidence of the importance of digital technology, and studies have explored these skills as embodied in highly mobile workers 1. The role of ‘digital human capital’ is fundamental in determining the geographies of the creative industries in the UK – a highly digitised and fast growing part of the UK economy. Relatedly, earlier findings in this report show that the Arts and Design function has a high concentration of members with tech skills at 7%.

Sectors previously worked in by LinkedIn members with tech skills currently working in the Technology sector (excluding those people who moved within the Technology sector at 64%)

Proportion of LinkedIn members with tech skills (%) Proportion of LinkedIn members with tech skills (%)
 Professional Services  7%
 Financial Services and Insurance  5%
Government/Education 4%
Telecommunications 3%
Retail and Consumer 3%
Media and Entertainment 3%
Aero/Auto/Transport 2%
Architecture and Engineering 2%
Healthcare 2%
Manufacturing 1%
Oil and Energy 1%
Staffing 1%


  1.  Comunian, R. (2016) Geography, skills and career patterns at the boundary of creativity and innovation: Digital technology and creative arts graduates in the UK (In:) Handbook on the Geographies of Innovation; Shearmur, R.; Carrincazeaux, C.; Doloreux, D. (Eds.) Edward Elgar: Cheltenham.

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