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UK Businesses Call For Advanced Technology Skills To Boost Economy

Understanding technology and business is key 17th November 2010 – Influential business leaders across the UK are calling for more graduates with advanced technology and business skills to help them use high-tech systems more effectively across their organisations.

According to a survey by ESRI UK, four in five (82 per cent) businesses think the ideal future manager has an equal understanding of both business and technology. Whilst business leaders’ top priorities for their organisations are making processes more efficient (nominated by 73 per cent of businesses as important) and delivering more for less (66 per cent).

The survey of 200 business leaders across the public and private sectors showed that the skills they are looking for in future employees are critical thinking (nominated by 78 per cent of businesses leaders as key for graduates), advanced analytical skills (76 per cent), understanding and interpreting complex data (71 per cent), advanced technology skills (57 per cent) and understanding socio-economic environments (54 per cent) – all of which can be gained through a geography degree.

Nearly all (97 per cent) of employers said that they would like more employees with these core skills in their organisations. Also despite most firms (95 per cent) saying that location – such as access to skilled staff and proximity to customers – is important to their success, only one in five (18 per cent) firms use key technologies such as Geographic Information Systems across their whole business. As a result, graduates who are able to illustrate an understanding of these technologies are increasingly sought after.

Richard Waite, Managing Director of the UK’s leading Geographic Information Systems (GIS) provider ESRI UK, said: "Business leaders across the UK are telling us that they need more employees who can help them maximise key technologies such as GIS but who also understand their business needs in these tough economic times. It’s clear from the survey that businesses can do more to help them achieve their top priorities but they need the right people to help them do that. Studying geography and learning how to utilise geographic information gives new employees many of the key skills that businesses are crying out for. As an industry it’s our job to encourage more people to take up a geography-based career so that businesses and society as a whole can benefit."

The research was commissioned by ESRI UK, the UK’s leading provider of geographic information systems (GIS) technology, to celebrate Geography Awareness Week. The week includes GIS Day on 17th November which aims to promote geography, inspire future careers and encourage the learning of new geographical skills by both teachers and pupils. Today’s GIS Day research follows on from ESRI UK’s recent partnership announcement with the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG) to help support and promote the Society’s Geography Ambassador Programme that encourages young people to plan careers in geography.

Dr Rita Gardner, Director of the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG), said: "It is encouraging to see that business leaders cite geography skills as a key attribute to greater employability in the graduate sector. The Society is working closely with schools and ESRI UK to inspire even more young people with the relevance and applications of geographical knowledge, skills and technology. With the help of businesses and universities, we hope to grow our support for tomorrow’s geography professionals in getting a foot on the job ladder and a rewarding career."

Note to editors:
The research was conducted amongst 200 business leaders by Vanson Bourne in October 2010.

What is GIS?

  • GIS (Geographic Information System) is a powerful technology which allows location-based data to be visualised, analysed and shared.
  • GIS encompasses the hardware, software and data that allow layers of information about a location to be analysed, helping organisations to think geographically and turn the information to their advantage.
  • GIS is invaluable for solving many real-world problems – from managing assets and analysing crime patterns to tracking disease and monitoring climate change.


ESRI UK is the leading provider of GIS technology, helping businesses become more profitable and public service more efficient through a better understanding and analysis of location-based information. ESRI UK employs over 300 people across six offices and offers GIS technology and an extensive range of consultancy and training services. It is the only company in the UK able to provide a complete and entirely integrated GIS technical solution.

ESRI UK has been providing GIS solutions for over 20 years to a wide range of markets including Central & Local Government, Commercial, Defence & National Security, Education, Public Safety, Utilities & Telecommunications, as well as catering for system integrators and application developers through the ESRI Developer Network.

Customers include Birmingham City Council, DEFRA, the Environment Agency, Manchester Airport, Metropolitan Police Service, Ministry of Defence, Ordnance Survey, RSA Group, Scottish Power and WSP Group.

ESRI UK is part of the ESRI global business network with more than 300,000 customers in 150 countries worldwide. ESRI technology runs on more than one million desktops and thousands of web and enterprise servers, providing the backbone for the world's mapping and spatial analysis.

ESRI UK helps organisations to think and plan geographically in order to make better decisions, keep communities safe and create a more sustainable world.

For more information, visit

About the Royal Geographical Society (with IBG)

The Society is the UK’s learned society and professional body for geography and geographers. As part of its work, the Society awards the professional accreditation of ‘Chartered Geographer’ to practising professional geographers.

For more information visit

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