IT, Digital & Creative

The increasing demand for digital skills in many creative roles has resulted in the IT, Digital and Creative sectors to merge. Collectively, there will be a need for over 1,000,000 new workers between 2012 - 2022.

Paul Coffey

Sector Lead IT, Digital & Creative | Coast Digital

I'm Paul Coffey and I have recently taken on the role as your new sector lead for the Essex Employment and Skills Board in the IT, Digital & Creative sector. Beyond this, I am a Production Director at Coast Digital, a digital agency based in Colchester.

With over 20 years of experience in this industry, I understand how difficult it can be to find people with the right skills to suit your business. One of my aims to help challenge this skills gap is to improve the communication links between the providers of Education and Industry.

IT, Digital & Creative

The IT, Digital and Creative is a fast growing and fast paced sector which is key to Essex's economy.

The sector is made up of a wide range of different businesses with many sharing very similar skill requirements and challenges. We have been working closely with the sector across Essex, as well as our training providers, to help address the challenges the sector faces.

Key Stats

This sector employs more than 29,000 people in over 7,000 companies in Essex.

Essex Employers include: Adphonic, BT, Coast Digital, Eurobase Systems, Kat Marketing, Mercury Theatre, Oakley Integrated Business Solutions, Objective IT, Royal Opera House, Storm Creative Media.

The local authority areas with the largest clusters of enterprises are Chelmsford, Colchester and Brentwood.


The sector has a number of skills challenges which include:

  • The digital and creative sector is at the forefront of technological change and further changes in technology will be the key driver of the number of workers needed, and the types of skills that will be in demand.
  • In the UK, the digital and creative sector is projected to need 1.2 million new workers between 2012 and 2022 - approximately half the level of current employment.
  • Women continue to be under-represented within this sector, particularly in web-development roles.

IT, Digital & Creative Sector Action Group

What is it?

The sector action group is made up of employers and other stakeholders who want to make a positive contribution to addressing the skills challenges within the sector. The group works together to identify and develop industry led solutions to the skills challenges within the sector.

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What is it doing?

This year, the IT, Digital & Creative sector action group has been relaunched with our new sector lead. We have been working to identify recruitment behaviours and intentions of local employers to identify current skills shortages and understand ways to combat these local issues. We are also working closely with local training providers to look at how to make their curriculum further meet the needs of local employers, young people and adults.

In addition to plans to introduce more IT skills to Essex students through the E&I STEM programme, this sector is paying particular attention to increase the gender split between men and women in the workplace for digital roles.

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Take our two minute survey here

We need employers to help us tackle the skills challenges in Essex. Can you help?


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