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First Digital Skills Survey of South West Companies

By February 23, 2017January 26th, 2021Member News & Updates

Results reveal candidates with digital skills in high demand


Aptus Recruitment recently announced the results of the first employers’ survey into digital and creative skills across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall.


The results are published in the first edition of The Aptus Guide, which has been created by the Exeter-based firm. The aim of the Guide is to inform and encourage more people to consider digital and creative careers in the region by highlighting the many benefits.


The survey, which included businesses in Exeter, Plymouth, Taunton along with the wider Devon, Somerset and Cornwall regions, revealed a shortage of suitable candidates for some digital roles, such as web developers and technical digital marketing executives. It also found that there are good opportunities to progress within companies, including both in-house marketing departments and at agencies in the region.


From the data collated in the survey, Aptus has created the online guide to help individuals understand the type of opportunities available, the skills required and the salaries candidates can expect to earn. It also showcases several of the key local digital and creative employers, as well as providing an overview of the sector and the local infrastructure, for people considering relocating to the South West.


Tom Murphy, Managing Director at Aptus, said: “Lifestyle continues to be a major factor for people choosing to live and work here, but we think there’s so much more to the area than that. The survey strongly suggests that there are good opportunities and people with the right skills are in demand.


“There are generally good prospects for candidates, especially developers, and employee retention is high. By identifying the advantages of working in the creative and digital sector, we hope to encourage more candidates to further their career in the South West, rather than automatically heading to a larger city.”


The survey found:

  • The demand for back-end developers is increasing.
  • Graphic designers and social media executives remain in steady demand.
  • Project managers are in lower demand than previous years.
  • Entry-level staff can typically expect to earn around £18,000, rising up to £30,000 for mid-level management, on average.
  • There are good progression opportunities, with over a third of senior management teams having progressed within that company.
  • The average employee generally stays with an employer for 4 years.


As part of the survey, key sector ambassadors in the region were interviewed.


Paul Bird, Creative Designer at Elixel and co-founder of Digital Plymouth, said: “From a business perspective the South West is a prime location. You can set up with low overheads and we have strong connected digital and creative communities such as Software Cornwall, Digital Plymouth and Digital Exeter, which are filled with inspiring successful people who value the environment and the lifestyle we have down here.”


Dan Pritchard, Managing Director of Exeter-based Astley Media, said: “We’ve grown to a team of 10 in a short space of time and that’s because clients are looking to build their business in new ways, including utilising digital channels. That’s good for people looking to develop exciting careers in the region’s creative sector.”


James Shakespeare, Founder of e-commerce agency Evosite, based in Taunton, says the new digital guide will help promote the many benefits of working in the creative industries sector in the region.


“There are many highly successful digital and creative agencies in Somerset, Devon and Cornwall that work with some of the UK's leading brands, and who provide an incredible work environment for their teams. The Aptus Guide is a fantastic way of showcasing the companies in our area to candidates both based in the South West currently and to talent much further afield.”


The Aptus Guide, which is free to download at: will be supplemented by a second edition later this year that will focus more on candidate expectations of their employers.


Chris Shadrick, Head of Digital Strategy at AB and co-founder of Digital Exeter, said: “Good people are snapped up quickly, but also there are regularly digital and creative jobs being advertising for months on end. We need to show confidence that you can develop a thriving career in the South West and make as much noise as possible about the great things we do.”


The survey saw respondents from creative and digital sector companies across Devon, Somerset and Cornwall and was carried out in December 2016 and January 2017.