Technology & Digital

Silicon Island

A new generation of technology companies is securing the UK’s status as a leading hub for digital innovation and driving growth in the wider economy.

The UK technology sector is expanding more rapidly than any other industry, with growth in London, the south east and East Anglia outpacing Silicon Valley, and dozens of clusters emerging beyond the capital. The UK Government’s decision to put coding at the heart of the national curriculum for children as young as five signals an even brighter digital future. 

Sector at a glance

  • 7 years - In 2014, the tech sector enjoyed its strongest growth since 2007
  • £12 billion - Will be added to London’s economy by tech firms over the next decade
  • £3.4 billion - The estimated value of the cybersecurity sector in 2017, up from £2.8 billion in 2013


From tech city to tech nation

Commentary by Baroness Joanna Shields OBE, CEO and Chair, Tech City Investment Organisation

The UK has become a tech nation. In the past year, brilliant digital companies have continued to spring from collaborative communities of entrepreneurs, supported by established businesses and government.

All across the country these companies are disrupting traditional industries, forging innovative sectors and creating an entirely new way of doing business.

The advent of the UK National Cluster Alliance, created by Tech City in 2013, has played an important role in this growth. The UK National Cluster Alliance was set up to engage digital businesses across the country, bringing together leading figures from thriving digital clusters with the specific purpose of using their collective expertise to accelerate digital growth in the UK. 

In 2014, investment in London’s tech companies alone was double that of the year before, and it is now 20 times what it was five years ago. The UK is now the fastest-growing economy in the G7, and the most digitally enabled, with more of our GDP attributed to the internet economy than in any other G20 country, at over 10%. Of the 20 million people who work in the UK,

“Britain’s technology sector has evolved from a diaspora of localised clusters into a nationwide success story”

1.5 million are within the ‘tech’ sector. Bringing employment to 7.5% of our total workforce, the vast majority of these jobs have been created in the last five years. Within that same time frame, Britain’s technology sector has evolved from a diaspora of localised clusters into a nationwide success story. Across the entire country, there are pockets of digital excellence, each with their own unique DNA. Take, for example, Bournemouth or Poole, places in which there exists an unrivalled base for digital advertising and marketing service businesses, or Dundee, famed for its gaming sector.

Big data, the internet of things and cloud computing are examples of areas in which Britain’s digital industry is leading the way. We have also become world class in many verticals of the tech and digital economy, including fintech, digital advertising and marketing, data management and analytics, software development, e-commerce and media and entertainment.

More than just an impressive national attribute, our tech businesses are driving the growth of Britain’s economy and have successfully consolidated our country’s reputation as an innovative, world-class digital destination.

  • 1.5m people in the UK work in the ‘tech’ sector

The diversity of our nation’s digital capabilities is key, as our wide range of specialisms makes us the optimum target for foreign companies looking to expand their footprint internationally. Our headline tax rate is the lowest in the G20, we have a wealth of talent graduating from our leading universities, and policies such as our specialist visas bring endless opportunities. Ultimately, what we have on offer is the world’s most ambitious package of incentives for founders and investors alike.

We are still at the beginning of an amazing journey. We must continue to support the tech sector and sustain our incredible rate of growth to date, consolidating our position as global leaders in this area.

By capitalising on our core digital strengths and nurturing their development, we can help more cities across the UK become international leaders which will, in turn, ensure the continued prosperity of the British economy.

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