Exploring the state of Tech across the UK

Tracking changes through the Tech Nation Report 2018

Released every year since 2015, the Tech Nation Report is a major publication designed to explore the developing state of digital engagement and technology across the UK courtesy of Tech Nation (formerly Tech North). We’ve recently seen the launch of the 2018 Tech Nation Report, exploring everything that’s been going on across the UK over the last year - as such, we’ve picked out some key takeaways and developments from the report.

As one of the fastest growing aspects of the UK economy in terms of sector value, turnover and employment, digital tech is a key area, with major digital hubs like London and Leeds driving a tremendous amount of innovation and development.

While the report understandably focuses on the established digital areas across the country, it’s also worth considering the increasing profile of digital tech across less traditionally tech-focused areas - like Bradford, the best city for startups, where a number of key factors, from great infrastructure to low costs (and access to world-class connectivity via DarkLight) help drive real digital success.

Exploring the 2018 Tech Nation Report

From the start, it’s worth taking a look at the big picture. Just behind the USA and China, the UK is a global leader when it comes to tech investment, led by a huge number of relatively small deals. While a great deal of this investment is concentrated in key digital areas, much of it is offered to companies outside of the traditional areas, leading to an increasing number of well-established digital areas around the country.

Around the country, there’s been a growth in digital tech-focused jobs (coming to a total of 2.1 million jobs in 2017), alongside an ongoing increase in per-employee turnover for these jobs, driving home the seemingly ever-increasing importance of digital tech and adjacent industries.

Given the continued growth of the sector, it’s certainly understandable that Tech Nation report that 70% of respondents to their survey (targeting the UK tech community) are optimistic about the ongoing growth of local digital tech businesses in terms of both numbers and overall scale.

However, the outlook isn’t exclusively positive - it’s worth considering some of the major concerns expressed through the tech industry. Respondents to the Tech Nation survey highlighted a lack of access to talent as their number one challenge, a issue that leads into an ongoing demographic issue in the tech community.

At present, women make up only 19% of digital tech employees, despite a number of major ongoing initiatives to help rectify the imbalance. Similarly, there’s still an issue when it comes to adequate opportunity for minority groups in digital tech jobs. Given that these problems originate from cultural issues and assumptions, fully correcting them is definitely a long-term process, rather than something which can be solved exclusively via sufficient investment.

In many cases, the organisations working to help improve the situation are collaborative tech groups, giving people the opportunity to network with peers, developing powerful cross-community links. With over 3000 tech groups across the UK (representing a total of 1.6 million members), there’s a lot of opportunities for those involved in the digital tech industry to develop an even more effective approach towards collaboration, opening up access to talent while creating an environment that’s actively accessible for all.