Digital Tech is the fastest growing sector in the UK. At least, according to research recently published in the Tech Nation 2018 Report, it is. Tech Nation’s annual report analyses the digital technology landscape across the UK and its evolution since the first report was published in 2015 – and the results are promising.
Unsurprisingly, London came up as the strongest city in the UK for tech. The report finds that Digital tech companies in London are the most connected in Europe and second only to Silicon Valley internationally, allowing the UK’s potential market reach to extend globally. London is also reported to be the third best city for tech start-ups overall, with cities being measured in performance, funding, market reach, talent reach and start-up experience. It comes behind Silicon Valley and New York globally.
London also has the benefit of attracting international talent, with 54% if workers born outside of the UK. This is the fourth highest in the world, behind Singapore, Berlin and Chicago.
London is of course, by far not alone is digital tech businesses. Places such as Reading and Newbury, for instance, benefit from being the home to the UK headquarters of companies such as Microsoft, Vodafone, Oracle and Huawei.
The spread of tech businesses is in fact scattered far and wide across the UK, with hotspots including York, Aberdeen, Bristol and Telford. Many cities in fact are classed as more ‘productive’ tech ecosystems than the capital, producing more £ per person in tech companies. Bristol, Newbury and Swindon top this table, with Bristol producing £320,000 per employee in 2017.
The UK as a whole was reported as one of the top three countries for total capital invested in digital tech in 2017, behind US and China. This is a significant improvement over previous years – in 2012, £984 million was invested in digital tech companies. This has grown to £3.3 billion invested in over 2645 separate deals. This suggests an incredible commitment to innovation and placing the UK as a global partner in tech development.
Even in the advent of Brexit, it seems that the digital tech sector in the UK is growing at great pace – 2.6 times quicker than the rest of the economy between 2016 and 2017, in fact, according to Tech Nation. On top of this, employment is high and company turnover has grown by 4.5%, whilst UK GDP grew only by 1.8%.
The report does make note of key areas still requiring improvement in the sector – most notably in diversity. Women still represent only 19% of the digital tech workforce, as opposed to representing 49% across the entire UK job market. 15% of the digital tech workforce are BAME, which is, however, an increase on the UK average across all sectors of 10%.
Despite these areas still in need of improving, the sector understandably feels optimistic of its continued growth potential in the future. The chief executive of Tech Nation, Gerard Grech, said “The UK’s tech sector is growing almost three times faster than the rest of the economy. What started as Tech City is increasingly Tech Nation. London is the world’s second most connected hub after Silicon Valley. We need to make the most of that, as our new relationship with the EU will undoubtedly force us to be even more adaptive, innovative and ambitious.”