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Why the UK will retain its crown as a tech giant

by Heat Recruitment

Given the continued uncertainty around Brexit and how likely it is to affect the UK’s economy and workforce, you’d expect investors to be looking elsewhere for venture capital (VC) opportunities in the technology sector. Despite this, recent data compiled by London & Partners shows that 2017 was actually a record year for VC investment.

The UK’s tech sector attracted £2.99 billion worth of investment in 2017, nearly double the amount invested in the year prior. That’s almost four times more funding than Germany and more than France, Ireland and Sweden combined. With Financial Services claiming £1.34bn, it’s clear that fintech is leading the way. Indeed, 2017 saw significant funding rounds for TransferWise (£221m), Funding Circle (£81.9m) and Monzo (71m). Across the UK, investment into Artificial Intelligence technologies also blossomed, with £488m raised last year.

With various media sources extolling that the UK will be soon losing its crown as a tech giant, it seems nothing could be further from the truth. So, what’s the reasoning behind this trend?

According to Tech Nation 2017, the most comprehensive analysis of the UK Digital Tech Ecosystem, more than 1.5 million people are currently employed within the digital sector or in tech roles across other sectors, and the number of UK tech jobs has grown at more than twice the rate of other sectors. These jobs are highly skilled and highly paid, and tech workers are nearly twice as productive as those from other sectors, ensuring this sector makes a massive contribution to the wider economy.

In addition to this, in terms of skilled candidates to drive this growth, the UK is also home to eight of Europe’s top 20 universities. This is an essential building block in developing the skills and innovations needed to keep our tech sector bringing in investment. This steep sector growth looks likely to continue, with major tech firms such as Amazon, Apple and Google announcing expansions that will create new jobs.

The real driver behind this shift, however, is a simple one – demand. Across the Western World, we are increasingly shifting towards a service economy. What this means is that traditional roles are dying out, with a greater range of IT and tech specialisms required to maintain this upward trend. This investment in the UK’s technological sectors says one thing above all others – that, in addition to this demand being present, that investors believe the UK is the right place to help drive this industry forward – Brexit or no.

This combination of education, a highly skilled workforce and internal investment means that UK PLC is well placed to take advantage. With both the UK government determined to keep the country at the forefront of digital innovation, and major industry players willing to invest, the UK’s tech sector looks set to retain its domination of Europe for some time to come.

All of this is excellent news for graduates looking for their first role, and for those looking to develop their careers further in IT and tech related sectors.

At Heat Recruitment, we specialise in IT and tech jobs and have a huge range of roles available. If you’re looking to take the next step in your career, get in touch.

By Glen Pearse