Booming tech sector has positive impact on Northern economy
A project looking into the State of the Region across Yorkshire and the North West has this month focused on tech and its driving force in the north.
The UK’s digital tech sector continues to accelerate faster than the rest of the economy, according to a landmark ‘state of the nation’ report.
Turnover of digital tech companies grew by 4.5% between 2016 and 2017 compared to UK GDP, which grew by 1.7% over the same period, according to official figures compiled by Tech Nation.
And that means the tech sector grew 2.6 times faster than the rest of the economy. At the same time, the number of jobs in digital tech rose at five times the rate of the rest of the economy, demonstrating how it is one of the best performing sectors in the UK.
Tech Nation 2018 is published by Tech Nation, a new voice for the UK’s fast-growing sector. Launched in April its aim is to build on the past work of Tech City UK and Tech North to make the UK the best place in the world to imagine, start and grow a digital tech business.
Its 2018 report highlights the rise of ‘silicon suburbs’ and tech towns across the UK –communities where the digital tech sector is growing in urban areas not usually associated with startups and tech businesses.
These smaller population centres are attracting more digital tech businesses, just as the whole UK tech sector widens the growth gap between itself and other sectors. A total of 16 of these tech towns are named in the report, including Burnley.
Eight cities are also showing above average tech employment, demonstrating how the UK’s tech boom is spreading beyond locations like Manchester where it already well established. These include York.
James Fitzgibbon, corporate partner at Squire Patton Boggs, said: “The North has a long tradition of innovation and disruption, and nowhere is this more obvious than in our technology sector.
“Looking at the diverse spread of the North’s tech businesses, whether they are early stage growth companies looking to secure investment and grow to the next level, or some of the region’s biggest tech businesses, they face similar challenges and opportunities.”
Graham Pearce, head of technology at KPMG in the North, said: “The North of England’s burgeoning technology scene has become one of the region’s most exciting, dynamic sectors.
“From Liverpool’s growing Knowledge Quarter and Manchester’s firmly established Media City, to Leeds’ new Government-backed Tech Hub, innovators and disruptors of every size are heading to our cities. We’re setting the standard in biotech, advanced manufacturing, low-carbon energy technology, gaming and cloud computing, to name but a few.”
The Yorkshire tech focus features an interview with WANdisco chief executive David Richards and how firms have hit the investment jackpot while the North West includes an interview with Oscar-winner Mark Crabtree and how the region is at the heart of the industrious revolution.