Report says Yorkshire on track to create 42,000 digital jobs over next four years

Yorkshire’s status as a fast-growing tech cluster was magnified today as a Government report indicated the county’s thriving digital tech sector is likely to create thousands of new jobs by the end of 2025.

The figures on the region’s flourishing digital sector were revealed by Digital Minister, Chris Philp, who spoke to founders and investors at the annual Leeds Digital Festival.

Other key figures, compiled by smarter job search engine Adzuna and Dealroom for the UK’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation, show tech companies in the region are on track to beat 2020’s venture capital investment levels eight months into the year and IT-related job vacancies have increased by more than a third.

Philp said: “I’m delighted that Yorkshire and the Humber’s digital sector is entering a golden era. The county is rapidly becoming a powerhouse of digital talent providing brilliant job opportunities for those who want to pursue a career in tech.

“We are working tirelessly to back digital businesses with pro-innovation policies which are creating jobs, wealth and boosting people’s digital skills.

“The sector’s growth across the region is important to our mission to level up, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from the jobs and success the sector provides.”

Chris Philp

There are now over 5,000 IT-related job roles available across the Yorkshire region, compared to only 3,781 in November 2020, an increase of 36%.

Leeds is the centre of the region’s digital sector, with 1,256 open IT-related vacancies. Tech jobs now make up 27% of all available jobs in the city, compared to 22% the year before.

In Sheffield, tech jobs make up 23% of all available jobs, compared to 20% a year before.

Recent growth in digital sector jobs in Yorkshire and the Humber has been higher than the growth of any other region in the UK, increasing at 8.2% a year.

This growth is expected to continue and add another 42,000 jobs by the end of 2025 and at least £1.6bn in annual GVA (gross value added) to the UK economy.

The news comes as digital infrastructure figures show 60% of premises in West Yorkshire now have access to next-generation, gigabit-capable broadband, up from just 1.9% in September 2018.

Yorkshire has been successful in attracting large digital sector employers, particularly in Leeds which is home to Sky’s digital technology division and Channel 4’s new national HQ.

But the region is also home to a combined 1,281 startups and scaleups, which are transforming industries such as health, transportation and fashion.

So far, Yorkshire tech companies have raised £120m in venture capital funding this year, nearly overtaking 2020’s record level of £130m.

Notable rounds this year included Big Change, an enterprise software company which helps clients plan, manage and schedule mobile workforces, which raised £75m in growth equity funding.

Rinri Therapeutics, a biotech which is developing advanced stem-cell based therapies to treat hearing loss, raised £10m in Series A funding.

The region has produced two unicorn companies, tech companies worth $1bn or more, which are Sky Betting and Gaming and Callcredit.

It is also home to two “futurecorns”, digital pharmacy service Pharmacy2U and risk intelligence platform Crisp, that are expected to reach unicorn valuation in the next few years.

Dr George Windsor, head of data and insights at Tech Nation, said: “Over the past few years Yorkshire, and particularly Leeds, has grown massively in strength as a tech hub.

“We are seeing both large digital sector employees moving into the region as well as innovative startups setting up shop here.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Highly skilled digital workers are very much in demand in Yorkshire with employees including Sky, Channel 4 and Asda vying for talent alongside growing startups.

“As the sector continues this growth streak, salaries are likely to become more competitive as businesses aim to attract more staff.”

Stuart Clarke, festival director at Leeds Digital Festival, said: “Leeds is one of the best places in the UK to launch a tech company.

“We have a brilliant influx of talent from the universities across the city and the wider region, and a welcoming community ready to assist with anything you may need.”