Project reveals tech ‘clusters’

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Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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The UK technology sector is driving economic growth and will outperform all other industries in terms of job creation by 2020, according to new analysis of the country’s tech industry.

The findings are comprised of data and analysis from a new project called Tech Nation, which has looked into how the technology industry is growing across the UK.

Tech Nation is the first time the UK’s digital businesses, including employment figures and areas of specialisation, have been comprehensively documented.

The project was carried out by Tech City, the government-backed organisation based in east London that serves as a nest for technology start-ups, and has led to the surge of digital businesses appearing in Shoreditch and surrounding areas.

Prime Minister David Cameron said of the project: ” Backing the industries of the future is a key part of our long-term economic plan to support business, create more jobs and build a more resilient economy.

“The digital economy has become an integral part of our country and the rapid growth of many digital businesses has confirmed Britain’s position as a global hub of technology excellence.

“We are committed to supporting the growth of our digital industry nationwide and Tech Nation shows the great innovation and thriving entrepreneurial spirit that is driving the sector forward across the country.”

Among the findings of the Tech Nation project was that digital job growth was predicted to outperform all other occupations by 2020, with 1.46 million people – 7.5% of the UK workforce – already employed in digital industries.

And it was growth that had occurred at a rapid rate, with 50% of digital companies in the UK founded since 2008.

Though Tech City may also be the most widely-known technology “cluster”, Tech Nation found that almost three-quarters of digital companies in the UK actually operated outside of London, with the fastest growing areas outside of the capital identified as Liverpool, Belfast, Greater Manchester, Bournemouth, Brighton, South Wales, Bristol and Bath.

Brighton and Hove was the most densely packed cluster; more than 3% above the national average, and a percent higher than central London.

The Chancellor George Osborne said: “The UK is a world leader in the technology and digital sectors and what’s so exciting about today’s Tech Nation report is that it shows how we’re seeing the growth of tech businesses right across the country.

“As part of our plan for a truly national recovery we will do everything we can to support this growth and back the different tech clusters that are emerging around Britain.”

In Bournemouth, the number of new digital companies formed between 2010 and 2013 rose by 212%.

Tech Nation said this kind of growth was s fuelling job creation, and according to their figures more than one million jobs in the digital technology industry were advertised in 2014, a rise of 28% year on year.

Deputy mayor of London Kit Malthouse has said in the past that he believes technology will become “central” to government economic policy in the future.

Baroness Joanna Shields, digital adviser to the prime minister and chair of Tech City UK added: “The UK is recognised on the world stage for its tech and digital strengths.

“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.”

Gerard Grech, Tech City’s chief executive, said he believed the figures would not only show off how well the technology sector in the UK was doing, but also serve as good advertising for the industry as it looked to continue to grow.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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