By Daniel Hunter

More than half of the digital businesses in the North have had to turn away thousands of pounds worth of work as a result of being unable to find the right talent, a new digital skills audit has found.

The Digital Skills Audit 2015, conducted by Manchester Digital, revealed that 57 per cent of companies in the digital sector have had to refuse business. With 29 per cent of these claiming the work was worth more than £50,000 and 28 per cent saying the work was worth between £25,000 and £50,000.

The audit of 100 digital business in the North also revealed that developers were the most difficult roles to fill which reflected the results of the last audit in 2014. However, this has dropped from 61 per cent in 2014 to 50% in 2015. Sales and business development positions were cited the next hardest role to fill (38 per cent) followed by designers (30 per cent).

Over half of the digital businesses surveyed (51.1 per cent) also said that in order to remain competitive in the labour market they needed to inflate salaries, but the majority of respondents only needed to increase salaries by less than 10 per cent for the job functions.

Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital, said: “The results of our digital skills audit highlight that we need some short term solutions to the skills shortage and a way of accelerating access to talent. It shows that there is still a need for industry and education to work much more closely together and for SMEs to have much more support in building and developing those relationships."