A note from the Director: Innovation – our interpretation
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Tech Nation 2017, the latest edition of the annual report from Tech City UK, finds that the average advertised salary for digital-tech jobs reached £50,663 a year, compared with £35,155 for the average non-digital salary. Since 2012 there has been a 13 per cent increase in the advertised salaries of digital tech posts, compared with only a 4 per cent rise in those of non-digital jobs.
With technical expertise in aerospace and a history of microchip design, Bristol and Bath’s burgeoning digital tech cluster has deep roots. Global businesses from these sectors are based in the region and digital skills are developed at the region’s four well-respected universities. Bristol and Bath with a digital tech turnover of £8.1bn, make up 5% of the UK’s total turnover, presenting an impressive 87% growth in the last 5 years. The region is also one of the most concentrated in terms of tech businesses, with nearly 36k jobs in the digital industry.
Nick Sturge, Director, Engine Shed said: “We’ve known for some time that the Bristol and Bath region is a growing international hot spot for the tech sector and these stats prove the case. We’ve seen a significant upswing of successful start-ups and scale-ups, such as YellowDog, Neighbourly, 5AI and Graphcore as well as established businesses taking root in the area, such as Strava, alongside continued investment and commitment by our four universities. The decision by Oracle to base its UK start-up accelerator programme here in Bristol is another strong indicator of the region’s tech strength which we do not see abating but continuing to grow over the next few years. Engine Shed is working with other actors in the local ecosystem to ensure that this growth works for everyone in the Bristol & Bath city region.”
On the same day the Tech Nation 2017 report is published, Engine Shed announced their event ‘CreaTech Mayoral Hustings’ where people can meet the full line-up of candidates for the position of West of England Combined Authority Mayor in the forthcoming election on 4th May. In light of the booming results of Bristol & Bath’s tech economy, it’s important that the aspirations of those wishing to lead the new combined authority are aligned with the future success of this industry.
The publication makes clear to what extent the digital tech sector is helping to fuel the growth of the UK economy. Tech Nation 2017 shows that the UK digital tech sector is one of the country’s economic success stories, growing twice as fast as the wider economy and creating highly skilled and well-paid jobs. The sector remains at the epicentre of the European tech scene but the new report also reveals some important new data that underlines how significant the sector is to generating economic growth nationwide.
Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Karen Bradley said: “This Tech Nation report highlights the fantastic performance of the UK’s digital sectors which are driving growth across the whole country and creating well-paid and highly skilled jobs at twice the rate of other industries. Earlier this month Government published the UK Digital Strategy which will help secure the UK’s place as a world-leading digital economy, attracting the best and brightest of global talent and making Britain the best place to start and grow a digital business.”
The publication also demonstrates how the UK’s digital economy is now at the epicentre of Europe and attracting more new investment than any other continental country. In 2016, the UK continued to lead all other European nations in terms of the size and value of its tech sector. Investors from around the world ploughed £6.8bn into the UK digital sector, significantly more than its closest rival, France, which secured £2.4bn and Germany £1.4bn.
One important aspect of the 2017 report is the level of growth seen in the tech sectors in the regions outside of London and the South East. In 2016, for the first time ever, more investment from venture capital or private equity funds went to companies’ whose headquarters are outside of London. The regions attracted 68 per cent of all VC and private equity investment in the UK.
Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK: “Tech Nation 2017 shows how rapidly the UK’s tech innovation and productivity are gathering momentum. There are now significant tech hubs all over the UK, attracting both international investment and overseas talent. Tech careers now pay 44% more than the national average wage. These foundations will be crucial as we prepare to leave the EU. We need to maintain access to skilled workers while doubling down on home grown tech talent. And we need to think big. This report is all about working together on a common vision: the UK as a global leader in tech.”
Tech Nation 2017 is published with a foreword by the Prime Minister in which she acknowledges that digital businesses are strengthening local economies nationwide. Theresa May also repeats the Government’s commitment to building on the UK’s strengths in this area, putting the digital sector at the heart of the Government’s modern industrial strategy.