Tech Nation Report Shows Strong Growth in Scotland
The 2018 Tech Nation Report released today paints a positive picture for the UK technology industry, with strong signs of development coming from Scotland’s key tech hubs.
The high level national statistics show the vital importance of the digital technology sector to the UK’s output. While the wider economy has reported sluggish growth, the digital tech sector has bucked this trend, expanding nearly three times faster than the rest of the economy. The total valuation for the sector rose to almost £184 billion in 2017, up from £170bn in 2016.
The UK capital was ranked as the second most connected place for tech on the planet, trailing only Silicon Valley. London also led the UK in both value of investment and in the total number of start-ups it hosts.
However, while London continues to be the top UK region in value and scale, one of the key findings of the report was that the UK digital tech industry is not confined to London, or indeed to cities. Digital suburbs are growing right across the country, with tech proving to be a key driver of local suburban economies.
The report delves into the vital statistics for the largest cities and tech hubs across the UK. Examining the regional performance across Scotland, there are clear signs of progress with a number of common strengths shared by the three Scottish clusters included in the report: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.
Scotland’s capital reported an increase in turnover of £119 million from its digital tech industry, reaching £1.14bn in 2017, up from £1.025bn in 2016. There was also a substantial increase in employment, with the number of jobs in digital tech (within the tech sector) rising to 9704 in 2017, from 8416 in 2016. The total number of digital tech jobs across all industries rose to 38,414 from 25,109 in 2016.
The report specifically highlighted the explosive growth of jobs in digital tech within Edinburgh, which increased more than three times the UK average between 2014 and 2017. The city’s talent pool is perceived to be one of its biggest strengths, with strong academic institutions and the largest tech incubator in the UK seen as core factors in its success.
But the positivity extends beyond the numbers, Edinburgh is merited for an active and cohesive tech community, with the city described in the report as “conspicuously collaborative, with a strong sense of camaraderie.”
Glasgow also posts a significant turnover of £1.051bn from its digital tech business, but the figures from in the latest report from 2017 show a small decline from 1.055bn in 2016. However, the regions GVA has risen significantly, growing from £591m in 2016 to £1.31bn in 2017.
As with Edinburgh, the report also cites that Glasgow’s skills base and academic institutions are its underlying strength. The number of meet-ups and community events run by organisations like Data Lab, and Web3IoT were also perceived to be an important enabler.
Glasgow’s space sector was singled out as an industry on the up, referencing the recent acquisition of Clyde Space by Swedish firm AAC Microtech.
Dundee posted a strong rise in turnover from its digital tech sector, up from £146m in 2016 to £181m in 2017. The GVA also rose substantially on last years figures to £205m from £97m reported in 2016.
The games sector continues to be the main area which Dundee receives recognition for, however the report highlights the wider regeneration taking place across the city – with the £1bn water front project, which is also being accompanied by a number of smart city initiatives.