Tech Nation is an annual national report by Nesta and Tech City which is recognised as the most comprehensive review of the digital tech economy.
In the latest report for 2016, Exeter is highlighted for its exceptional levels of growth, specifically the increase in employment in digital tech jobs, which grew by 161%, alongside growth in turnover in the digital tech companies of 41%. It estimates that 11,412 jobs in the Exeter area currently involve digital technologies, with key sectors including e-commerce, digital advertising and marketing, app and software development and fintech.
Nationally the UK’s digital tech economy now employs around 1.5 million people, 41% of which exist in non-digital sectors (a figure set to rise significantly over coming years). There are around 58,000 active digital tech businesses in the UK, and they can be found in clusters around the UK, with three-quarters operating outside of London. The report estimates that UK’s digital tech industries grew 32% faster than the rest of the UK economy between 2010 and 2014.
“Tech Nation 2016 sets out how digital tech innovation is disrupting the UK economy, creating high-quality employment opportunities and driving productivity nationwide”
(Ed Vaisey, Minister for Digital Economy)
A more in-depth analysis of the report and its findings, indicates interesting issues around sustaining further growth and successes, for example:
- 43% of respondents to the report survey reported difficulties in sourcing sufficiently skilled talent to their businesses
< >average pay premium of digital versus non-digital jobs is currently estimated at £15,000Exeter’s average salary in digital tech industry is £39,695, which is lower than 14 of the clusters studied in the report including Bristol, Cardiff, Liverpool, Edinburgh)
And so businesses (digital and non-digital) in the local areas will need to take a very close look at their staffing plans for the years ahead, understanding very clearly their need for digital talent, ways to attract the right people, and the business advantage which those skills deliver. And in the wider education sector we need to herald the opportunities for increased employability, better opportunities and improved salaries to students, parents, careers advisors and employers.
“Digital technologies are unlike any others – they change everything businesses do. That’s why, as this research confirms, digital jobs and activity are becoming ever more important in apparently non-digital industries…. I hope that parents and teenagers will get the message – that acquiring digital skills pays off, wherever you are.”
(Geoff Mulgan, CEO of Nesta)
You can download the full report here
Julie Hawker is CEO of Cosmic, a digital agency and tech consultancy based in Honiton and working across Devon and Somerset in developing digital solutions, training programmes and research.