The UK’s tech sector showed signs of continued growth in 2020, according to new data which shows that 42% of tech businesses reported an increase in revenue over the past 12 months, while almost half (46%) said they’d increased employee numbers.
Boom for Tech Businesses
A study of more than 800 digital technology businesses and professionals from the UK Tech Cluster Group (UKTCG) supported by the Institute of Coding (IoC), showed that over a quarter (27%) of the businesses surveyed believe that sales and business development will be the most important skills for growth moving forward – yet only 4% are currently employed in these roles. Developer was cited to be the second most important role needed for future growth.
Commenting on the impact COVID has had on their business or workplace, 37% of respondents reported having to change their product or service offering as a result, while business and client requirements have changed for over half – showing the importance of adapting in line with the market throughout the pandemic. Just 7% of businesses reported to have lost funding as a result, with investment deals still going through – in fact, $15bn in funding was secured by UK tech firms in 2020.
The picture was less positive for those that are self-employed in the sector, with over a third (37%) seeing their revenue decrease in 2020. Of those currently working in the UK’s digital tech sector, which contributed £149bn to the UK economy in 2018, almost a quarter have switched to tech from another sector and 17% say they are ‘self-taught’ – demonstrating that pathways into the sector are becoming more varied. A recent report showed that one in ten UK jobs are now in the tech sector.
Commenting on the findings David Dunn, chair of the UK Tech Cluster Group said: “The findings demonstrate the increasing importance of the (tech) sector at both a local and national level and why tech is a pivotal element in UK ‘levelling-up’. The UKTCG will build on this work to better support and empower our tech communities, as we look to drive economic recovery.”
UK Leaders of the Tech World
Digital Minister, Caroline Dinenage, added: “Britain continues to be the leading European tech destination with hundreds of innovative businesses showing strong resilience to the impact of the pandemic. But the tech sector needs the right skills and expertise to sustain its upward growth trajectory. Through our Local Digital Skills Partnerships, we’re future-proofing the workforce in seven major UK regions and trialling new digital bootcamps to tackle local skills gaps and address tech firms’ needs front and centre.”