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February 6, 2015

Tech Nation puts UK digital economy under the microscope

First time Britain’s digital businesses have been comprehensively mapped in terms of capability, revenue, employment and region.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

An influx in the number of jobs and tech start-ups is making the technology sector the most important industry in the UK, according to research.

The Tech Nation report, which claims to be the most comprehensive analysis on the UK digital economy to date, found that 7.5% of the entire UK workforce, or 1.46 million people, are currently employed in digital industries, with the highest rate of employment existing in Inner London, Bristol & Bath, Reading, Greater Manchester and Leeds.

The report, backed by Tech City UK, shows there are now 47,000 digital tech businesses across the UK, of which 50% have been founded since the recession, and 74% located outside of London.

In what signals future success, 90% of the UK’s digital companies expect their revenue to rise in 2015.

The study also revealed that the UK’s fastest growing tech clusters in terms of new digital companies formed since 2010 include: Liverpool, Inner London, Belfast, Greater Manchester, Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove, South Wales and Bristol & Bath.

Clusters with the highest average company turnover are Greater Manchester, Belfast, Sheffield, Inner London and South Wales, while
77% of digital companies within clusters say they benefit from access to a network of entrepreneurs to interact with and to share ideas.

Gerard Grech, CEO Tech City UK, said: "I believe our findings will help inform policy-makers, investors and the wider business community about the sheer breadth and depth of the UK’s digital prowess.

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"This is the first time that the UK’s digital clusters have been so thoroughly analysed, revealing their strengths and importance to the digital economy. It shines a powerful spotlight on how far we’ve come in the digital tech sector, and where we are heading."

Baroness Joanna Shields, Chair of Tech City UK and Digital Adviser to the Prime Minister, added: "Today’s report reveals the depth of the sector and the complex array of skills, specialisms and strengths that truly make us a Tech Nation.

"The unprecedented level of detail and analysis of business starts, revenue and job growth give us a first hand view of the clusters and businesses that make up the UK digital economy. We are a Tech Nation and we hope this project will inspire innovation and growth for years to come."

The Tech Nation report surveyed 2,000 businesses across the UK, held 40 interviews with local entrepreneurs and professionals in the UK digital business community, and used digital employment data from Adzuna and CareerBuilder.


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