Here’s what you should take away from the latest Tech Nation Report – an annual series which delves into digital tech activity in the UK.
1. The digital tech sector is expanding 2.6x faster than the rest of the UK economy. The turnover of digital tech companies grew by 4.5% between 2016-2017, compared to UK GDP which grew by 1.7% over the same period.
2. The UK has digital suburbs not just cities. Areas such as Guildford, Aldershot, Slough and Heathrow have significantly higher tech density and the highest levels of employment and tech turnover. This contests the conventional view that tech activity in the UK is based in large cities.
3. Diversity remains a key challenge for the sector. Only 19% of the tech workforce is female compared to 49% across all UK jobs. Whereas, ethnic diversity is above the UK average at 15% in comparison to 11% nationwide. However, these figures are still unrepresentative of the UK population.
4. Access to talent is the biggest challenge as cited by 84% of tech clusters in the UK. The second being access to funding and third being bad transport links.
5. Tech workers are older than you might think. Around three quarters of employees working in the sector are over the age of 35 which challenges the stereotype that jobs in this sector are held by millennials. East London, site of Silicon Roundabout, is the only region where the majority of tech workers (51%) is under 35.
6. London beats Silicon Valley when it comes to the number of overseas customers. In London 33% of tech company customers are based outside the UK, compared to 30% in Silicon Valley and 7% in Beijing.
7. London has the fourth most international tech startup workforce in the world, behind Singapore, Berlin and Chicago, with over half of workers born outside the UK
8. The UK was in the top three countries for total capital invested in digital tech companies from September 2016 to August 2017, behind only the US and China with almost £45bn invested. The US has the highest number of deals, but the UK settles into second place comfortably with a deal count of 2,664.
9. There’s a healthy mix of growth stages meaning a diverse and stable tech ecosystem. More than a third of UK clusters are balanced ecosystems, meaning they have an even distribution of businesses of different ages. These balanced clusters are in Southampton, Manchester, and Edinburgh, to name but a few.
10. Jobs in technology are on the rise. Between 2014 – 2017 employment rose by 13.2%. Positions requiring tech skills command higher salaries of over £10,000 more than those that do not.