Editorial

Tech City UK: British IT is doing better than ever

UK tech sector hiring on all cylinders and becoming a bigger and bigger part of UK Plc’s economic future, says group

Posted 22 March 2017 by

The country’s digital tech sector is one of the UK’s economic success stories, growing twice as fast as the wider economy and creating highly skilled workers and well-paid jobs.

That’s the very upbeat claim of the latest ‘Tech Nation’ report from sector advocacy group Tech City UK, which was set up to accelerate the growth of both London and the overall national digital economy.

“[This study] provides overwhelming evidence that the UK’s digital tech sector is critical to the nation’s economic growth, and highlights the importance of continuing the momentum achieved in the last five years,” the group says in its official announcement of its findings.

The data collated by the group says the UK’s digital tech industry turned over an “estimated” £170bn in 2015, plus is growing at twice the rate of the wider economy.

It also says it contributed £97bn to GDP in 2015, as well as creating 85,000  jobs over the past year, double the rate of the rest of the economy.

Similarly, since 2012 there has been a 13% increase in the advertised salaries of digital tech posts, compared with only a 4% rise in those of non-digital jobs. Interestingly for public sector managers looking to hire more tech talent, those jobs are pretty well remunerated, too; the average advertised salary for digital-tech jobs has now reached £50,663 a year, compared with £35,155 for the average non-digital salary, putting such jobs at 44% higher than the national average.

Plus, claims the researchers, since 2012 there has been a 13% increase in the advertised salaries of digital tech posts, compared with only a 4% rise in those of their non-digital equivalents.

Meanwhile, tech investment hit £6.8bn in 2016, more than two times higher than any other European country and significantly more than our alleged closest rival, France, which Tech City UK only attracted £2.4bn.

The study adds individual data points about a range of thriving UK tech ‘clusters’ it’s identified across the UK, from Belfast to Worcester & Malvern.

What’s interesting here is that the study suggests tech growth is finally not just a London phenomenon.

For example, Dundee is claimed to have the highest rate of growth in digital turnover between 2011 and 2015, 171% ahead of London’s 106, while West Country and Reading firms also had a higher turnover per worker than those in London.

“There are now significant tech hubs all over the UK, attracting both international investment and overseas talent,” said Tech City chief executive Gerard Grech told the financial press this morning.

“These foundations will be crucial as we prepare to leave the EU.”