UK tech is expanding faster than the wider economy, London is the second most connected city after Silicon Valley

The UK’s digital tech sector continues to accelerate faster than the rest of the economy, according to latest research from Tech Nation Turnover of digital tech companies grew by 4.5% between 2016-17 compared to UK GDP which grew by 1.7% over the same period, according to the report.

At the same time, the number of jobs in digital tech rose at five times the rate of the rest of the economy.

  • The digital tech sector is worth nearly £184bn to UK economy, up from £170bn in 2016
  • The UK’s Silicon Suburbs and tech towns are booming with 16 towns showing a higher proportion of digital tech employment than the UK average.
  • Diversity in digital tech on improving trend: figures show more black, Asian and ethnic minority workers employed in tech than across the UK in general (15% v 10%) and 72% of UK digital tech workers are over 35, in line with the whole UK workforce.
  • London ranks as second most connected place for tech on planet, after Silicon Valley whilst Berlin is the only other European city in the top 10 list of global ecosystems.

Investment, acquisitions and exits 
2017 proved to be a record-breaking year for the UK digital tech sector with some of the biggest fundraisings and exits seen in years. ,

  • British digital tech companies raised £4.5bn in venture capital investment during the year,  almost double the previous year.
  • Notable exits for the sector during 2017 included which was sold to a private equity investor for almost £750m and Leeds-based CallCredit acquired by TransUnion for £1 billion.
  • Game development platform Improbable raised £370m from Japan’s Softbank, food delivery service Deliveroo raised £284m and mobile network Truphone raised £249m.
  • In total the UK has seen £42bn venture-backed exits between 2013 and 2017.

Tech towns and suburbs 
The 2018 Tech Nation Report also reveals the rise of ‘silicon suburbs’ and tech towns across the UK where the digital tech sector is growing in urban areas not usually associated with startups and tech businesses. These smaller population centres are attracting more digital tech businesses, as the UK tech sector gets bigger. In no particular order: Newbury,  Reading, Basingstoke, Burnley, Slough and Heathrow, Livingston, Stevenage and Welwyn Garden City, Guildford and Aldershot, High Wycombe and Aylesbury, Southend, Enniskillen, Telford, Cheltenham, Stafford, Huntingdon, Swindon

Eight cities are also showing above average tech employment, demonstrating how the UK’s tech boom is spreading beyond locations like East London and Manchester where it already well established. The cities are: Portsmouth, Bristol, Cambridge, Southampton, Oxford, York, Salisbury and Bath.

Download the full report here. 


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