UK Tech Industry Growth Outpacing UK Economy

But critics say there’s still a North/South divide as even far-flung hubs like Cornwall hit massive growth

The UK’s digital technology industries are growing 32 percent faster than the rest of the UK’s economy, according to a new Tech Nation report today.

The estimated annual turnover of UK digital tech industries also hit £161bn in 2014, claims the report, which comes from Shoreditch-based tech think-tank Tech City UK.


But to some, the report highlights the technological and economic divide between the North and South tech industries.

The report, available here, shows that the digital sector in Yorkshire is healthy, with Leeds coming in fifth place in the list of technology hubs paying the highest salaries.

However, CEO of Sky’s betting and gaming division Sky Bet, says there are significant issues with Northern tech talent.

tech nation“Despite our excellent universities and recording the fastest growth in digital wages, the majority (60 percent) of businesses in Leeds believe access to talent is the number one challenge to growth. We certainly agree with this.

“Having recruited 360 people in just 9 months we still have around 125 digital job vacancies to fill and it’s becoming harder and harder to do so. This is much bigger issue for business in the North than it appears to be for companies elsewhere in the country and must be addressed if the Government’s Northern Powerhouse agenda is to be a success.”

But Cornwall, despite drawing economic parallels with more Northern areas, achieved significant growth in the tech industry.

Between 2010 and 2014, the city and towns of Truro, Redruth and Camborne achieved a turnover growth of 153 percent in the tech sector, with an average salary of £34,367 in 2015.

Jonathan Bridges, head of cloud at British cloud and network provider Exponential-e, confirms that growth outside of London in the tech sector is not only important, but is necessary.

“Two thirds of technology businesses are now based outside of London so it’s imperative that we have nationwide access to the digital plumbing that supports future growth,” he said.

“This extends beyond equipping new homes and buildings with ultrafast internet. We need to look closely at the density of businesses across the country and ensure digital clusters have access to superfast internet, high-speed mobile coverage and connected networks by default.”

Indeed, almost 95 percent of properties in Cornwall are now able to use fibre-optic superfast broadband, with the help of funding from BT and the European Union. It’s schemes like this that can completely transform regions into tech hubs, as workers and startups don’t have to make geographical sacrifices to keep up with larger tech hubs in cities.

London, naturally, takes the crown however. The city experienced a 127 percent GVA growth from 2010 to 2014, and puts out more than £35 billion. The average salary in the tech industry in London is almost £60k, according to the Tech Nation report, with London workers particularly specialising in financial technology and social media.