UK’s digital industries growing 32pc faster than wider economy

Silicon Roundabout

David Cameron has hailed Britain’s technology sector as “extraordinary”, after a report revealed companies are generating £161bn for the economy, reports The Telegraph.

According to the Tech Nation report, now in its second year, the digital economy grew 32pc faster than the rest of the economy between 2011 and 2014, and is creating new jobs at an unprecedented rate.

The sector accounts for 1.56m jobs across the UK, with this workforce growing by more than 10pc over the three-year period – three times faster than the wider UK job market.

Many of the new roles being created by fast-growing technology companies are highly paid, with the average salary coming in at £50,000 – 36pc higher than the national average.

“The digital economy is expanding at an extraordinary pace, creating jobs and fuelling growth in regions and cities up and down the country, providing security and opportunities for working people,” Mr Cameron said.

The Prime Minister has pledged to use “all the levers” at the Government’s disposal to continue to support technology firms.

“This Government has stood foursquare behind the country’s digital transformation, backing new technologies, investing in infrastructure, supporting investment, removing barriers to innovation and helping upgrade the digital skills that a modern work force needs,” he claimed.

“And we will continue to back, with all levers at our disposal, the innovation, creativity and entrepreneurship that is redefining and strengthening the modern British economy.”

There are fears that the planned crackdown on immigration could prevent technology firms from accessing skilled talent from overseas.

Tech Nation, which is compiled by Tech City, the Government-backed body that promotes technology in the UK, and innovation charity Nesta, is the most comprehensive study of the UK’s digital sector.

It uses data from companies such as GrowthIntel, Crunchbase, AngelList and GitGub, among others, as well as interviews with more than 2,000 industry leaders.

App and software development is the fastest-growing niche in the digital economy, growing by 17pc overall in 2015, it found.

Data companies and hardware manufacturers also posted growth of more than 10pc.

Around two-thirds of technology businesses are based outside London and the research pinpointed 27 “notable” digital clusters across the UK.

More than 80pc of digital clusters have demonstrated growth in turnover, jobs and advertised digital salaries, the report stated.

Leeds, Newcastle and Sunderland generated the largest increases in salaries for digital roles.

Reading and Bracknell experienced the most significant surge in start-ups, followed by Brighton, with Cambridge in third place.

Last year’s report found that Bournemouth had become the UK’s fastest-growing city in the digital economy, with digital start-up incorporations rising 212pc between 2010 and 2013.

This year Bournmouth has fallen to fourth place.

The impact of this nascent sector is considerable, the report’s authors claimed; half of all the digital companies in the UK were launched after 2008.

“The UK’s credentials as a home for digital excellence have been well established,” said Eileen Burbidge, chair of Tech City UK and partner at venture capital firm Passion Capital.

“The opportunities are enormous if we are to fulfil our potential as a nation driven by digital tech innovation.”