There are signs of positive growth in UK within the digital tech economy and digital tech industry as highlighted in the Tech Nation Report 2016. The report looks at the digital tech economy and digital tech business. It is clear from the report that digital tech business is at the heart of the UK economy and is helping to shape the economy.
Encouraging signs of growth outside of London
Tech plays a pivotal role in the lives of individuals and the economy. The report highlights that between 2011 and 2014, job creation in the digital tech economy was 2.8 times faster than the rest of the economy and between 2010 and 2014, digital tech industries grew 32% faster than the rest of the economy. Of the estimated 1.56million jobs in the digital tech economy, it is reported that 41% digital tech jobs are found within the traditional industries (i.e. the non-digital industries) such as the public sector.
Digital tech businesses are typically concentrated in clusters across the country and whilst London remains central for the tech industry, the report has profiled 27 digital tech business clusters in the UK, including London, Reading and Bracknell, Birmingham, Cardiff, Manchester and Edinburgh. Interestingly it is reported that 75% of digital tech businesses operate outside of London and according to the report, between 2010 and 2014 Southampton saw higher digital turnover growth than London.
The report reaffirms that in order to fuel tech growth, the growing demand for skilled digital workers has to be met by the supply of a suitably talented workforce. The report highlights that 1 in 3 digital tech businesses source talent from local universities, but access to international talent remains central to bridging the skills gap. Areas such as London and Reading and Bracknell in particular are highlighted in the report as areas that often hire talent from overseas, including both EU and non-EU countries, whilst areas such as Cambridge and Edinburgh for example are generally more reliant on local universities for talent. According to the report, just under 40% of digital entrepreneurs surveyed claim that finance remains a real challenge and 28% of digital tech businesses surveyed as part of the report, reported that digital infrastructure (such as high speed connectivity) also remains a challenge. An area which also cannot be underestimated for growth is the existence of networks and supporting organisations engaged with local tech business.
There is no doubt that encouraging further growth of the tech sector more widely throughout the UK can only be good for the country as it continues to build an enviable reputation in technology innovation.