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Scottish Technology Industry Survey 2018: analysis of questions on innovation systems and the gender gap


The Scottish Technology Industry Survey is an annual measure of the digital technologies industry’s health and performance during the last year, and its expected development during the current year. The 2018 survey also included an analysis of the types of innovation undertaken in Scotland, levels of awareness of different parts of the innovation ecosystem, and the parts that companies have actually used or would consider using in the future. It also looked at what companies are doing to address the gender gap, and the impact of these actions. This paper provides further analysis of the survey results in relation to innovation systems and gender issues. It includes commentary highlighting key insights and puts the results into a broader cross-industry and international perspective.


The Scottish Technology Industry Survey 2018 was conducted between 4 January and 9 February 2018 through an online survey platform. The survey received 205 responses, of which 171 were selected for analysis. The respondents included both ScotlandIS members and non-members. The survey also involved additional desk research and the analysis of official statistics.


The survey found that the digital technologies industry is one of the most innovative sectors in Scotland. Expenditure on research and development (R&D) performed within businesses (BERD) at current prices was £155,817,000 in 2016, representing 14.5% of the total BERD in Scotland. Computer programming and information services activities and software development account for about one quarter each of the information and communication sector’s BERD. R&D expenditure in the digital technologies industry also grew particularly quickly over the last few years. Between 2009 and 2016, BERD in the information and communication sector grew by 75%, compared to 49% in the “professional, scientific and technical activities” sector and 25% in the manufacturing sector. This data shows that the digital technologies industry is a very innovative sector compared with other parts of the Scottish economy. However, the comparison with digital technologies sectors in other countries shows that Scotland would need to invest considerably more in innovation to rank amongst the top tier countries in the EU and beyond. In relation to the gender gap, the proportion of women in digitally focused roles was found to be 18% as opposed to 48% in the workforce as a whole and 39% in other skilled occupations. This gender gap has remained largely stable over the last years. The most commonly taken step to attract more women is to offer flexible working patterns that are compatible with child care commitments – 55% have tried this measure and found that it helps. Around 25% of responding companies reported providing female role models for engagement with schools and universities and/or support initiatives like Scotland Women in Technology (SWiT) or Girl Geeks. The provision of return-to-work training for women after a career break was the least used method of addressing the gender gap. This form of support was more likely to be offered by larger companies.


The report did not make any recommendations.

Author Scotland IS
Published Year 2018
Report Type Research
  • Sectors
    Digital markets and enabling technologies