Tech sector 'booming inside and outside London'

Five UK cities outside London now have populations where more than ten per cent are employed in the digital sector, according to new research published on Wednesday.

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While the capital remains at the heart of the nation's tech industry, the research by Tech Nation for the government's Digital Economy Council found that the industry was booming outside London, with record numbers of job openings across the country.Cambridge, Belfast, Newcastle, Oxford and Reading all now have populations where more than one in ten employees is involved in the tech sector. Belfast also reported the biggest growth in digital job advertisements in the UK as the sector continued to grow in the regions.The research found that, last year, more than 1.7 million digital technology vacancies were listed across the UK as the number of new tech hubs nationwide grew at an unprecedented rate.

Fastest growing tech clusters outside London 

Outside London, the cities with the most tech openings were Manchester, where digital commerce and marketing is strong, with 164,000 vacancies, and Leeds, with 88,000 jobs.
The research found that in the university city of Cambridge, half of the working population are now employed in digital tech, while a third of workers in Reading are employed in the sector.Tech Nation said that the UK's fastest-growing tech clusters, notably in Belfast, Edinburgh and Glasgow, were now competing with London and South East England for highly skilled workers. In the process, these cities were offering salaries significantly higher than the local average.

Tech sector salaries above average 

For example, average digital tech salaries in Belfast were found to be 17.6 per cent higher than the overall city average, while jobs in the sector in Edinburgh were offering salaries almost 15 per cent above the city average.Digital Secretary Jeremy Wright said, "We are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business and this new data shows the success is bringing good jobs and helping spread prosperity across the country."We are determined to seize the future opportunities for technology to improve people's lives by investing heavily to boost the nation's digital skills."George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, added, "With over 2.1 million people working in digital technology in 2018, the tech economy is bigger than sectors like hospitality and construction.

Technology jobs crossing into the mainstream 

"However, increasingly, those lines are getting blurred, with technology jobs crossing over into the mainstream sectors like financial services and health, helping them to evolve and stay competitive and productive."Meanwhile, Sadiq Khan, London’s mayor, has claimed that the capital's booming tech sector could be making even faster progress but for the fact the gridlock over Brexit was depriving thousands of start-ups and big tech companies of the policy certainty they needed.Speaking at London Tech Week, Europe’s biggest technology festival, Mr Khan said, "There’s no doubt that as a country we should be much further ahead than we are now – not only in terms of making sure we can make the most of what (AI) has to offer, but in terms of educating the public, encouraging public debate and preparing for the potential impact on our society.” The mayor said the, “huge amount of uncertainty” over Brexit was hitting investment in London and the rest of the UK, but added that London’s tech sector was still flourishing. “There’s a real energy and fizz here,” he said.
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