UK tech shrugs off coronavirus drawbacks

The number of vacancies advertised in the UK's digital tech sector climbed by 36% between June and August as tech companies "gained in confidence after the challenges of lockdown", according to the industry body Tech Nation.

In a report to the government’s Digital Economy Council ahead of London Tech Week, Tech Nation said that, in the three months before the Coronavirus lockdown in March, the country's digital tech sector was consistently advertising more than 150,000 jobs a week."Vacancies fell in line with all other sectors of the economy when the UK’s lockdown began, but have since recovered to stand at 90,297 by the week commencing August 9. Tech is the UK sector posting the highest number of vacancies, after healthcare," says the 'Bright Tech Future' report.

London: the centre of UK tech

Tech Nation analysed data from jobs search engine Adzuna, cross-referenced with figures from the Office for National Statistics figures, which demonstrated the extent to which London remains the centre of Europe’s tech sector "attracting more capital, creating more unicorns and providing more jobs than any other city, although there have been challenges for many of the capital’s startups and not all will survive". 

What's the median tech salary in London?

Median tech salaries in London reached £55,000 last year, as 658,275 roles were advertised during the year, outranking all other UK cities. The median salary for non-digital tech jobs in the capital stood at £43,000. 

The tech industry employs 9% of the UK workforce

The report states that, over the past two years, jobs across the digital tech sector increased by 40% and that the industry now employs 2.93 million people, accounting for some 9% of the UK’s workforce. The total represents some 1.9 million people with digital skills and a million without such skills, working in areas such as accountancy.

UK: a nation of innovators

Tech Nation said the number of jobs advertised in the tech sector last year amounted to seven times the number of advertised legal job, eight times the number in manufacturing, and almost three times the number in finance and accounting. Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said, “These new figures demonstrate the strength and depth of our tech sector as an engine of job creation kickstarting our economy as we emerge from the pandemic.“We are a nation of innovators, entrepreneurs and inventors, and technology will underpin our infrastructure revolution of national renewal to unite and level up the UK. This government is backing people to succeed by investing heavily in cutting-edge research, digital skills and digital infrastructure to support our economic recovery.”

Digital technology will help the UK get through the Coronavirus pandemic

Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage added, “The UK’s tech sector is the backbone of the economy, so it is fantastic to see these new figures as we celebrate the industry during London Tech Week.“We were well placed to get through the pandemic thanks to digital technology. We now want to build on the UK’s strengths in cutting-edge technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum computing and encourage people to turn ideas into new businesses and jobs, while supporting businesses to embrace the benefits new technologies bring.“Britain must continue to be the best place in Europe to start and grow innovative businesses and we are working hard to make sure that growth is spread across the country with no one left behind.” 

Unicorns in the UK

The report says that, despite the problems posed by Covid-19, the UK remains the undisputed leader of the tech sector in Europe with more than 27 startups raising more than $80 million since the start of the year, primarily in London."Two new UK unicorns were also created during the coronavirus pandemic – Gymshark of Solilhull and London-based Cazoo – taking the UK’s total unicorns to 82. The UK is now home to more unicorns than any other country on the continent and as many as Germany, Netherlands and France combined," said Tech Nation.Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech Nation, said, “For almost a decade the UK’s tech sector has been on a steady growth path, creating more startups and scaleups and attracting more venture capital investment each year."The pandemic threatened that trajectory and hit some parts of the tech sector, as well as non-tech industries extremely hard. However tech companies have, in the last few weeks, found the confidence to begin hiring again."With digital adoption accelerating in every area of our lives, it looks likely that the tech sector will continue to be one of the best sources of new jobs this year and can provide the jobs of the future, right across the country.”

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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