Digital economy spreads nationwide but London still dominates

digital economyThe UK Government has published what it says is the first comprehensive analysis of the UK’s digital economy clusters as part of an ‘interactive data project’ called Tech Nation*. The project shows the development of digital businesses by region across the UK. The project has been developed by Tech City UK, the government’s flagship organisation focused on the UK’s digital economy. The project suggests that there are now  nearly 1.5 million jobs in the UK digital sector with around three quarters (74 percent) of them outside London. While the Government is keen to portray this as a nationwide success story, this still means that there are twice as many jobs per head in London’s digital sector as the national average and, as we reported earlier, the Government’s rollout of fast broadband to rural areas remains woefully inadequate.

Key findings of the project include:

  • Digital economy job growth is predicted to outperform all other occupation categories by 2020
  • 1.46 million people – 7.5% of the entire UK workforce – are currently employed in the digital industries
  • The highest rates of digital employment exist in Inner London, Bristol & Bath, Reading, Greater Manchester
  • 74% of digital companies in the UK operate outside of London
  • The UK’s fastest growing tech clusters in terms of new digital companies formed since 2010 include: Liverpool, Inner London, Belfast, Greater Manchester, Bournemouth, Brighton & Hove, South Wales and Bristol & Bath
  • Clusters with the highest density of digital companies (as a proportion of overall companies) are Brighton & Hove, Inner London, Berkshire (including Reading), Edinburgh and Cambridge
  • Clusters with the highest average company turnover are Greater Manchester, Belfast, Sheffield, Inner London and South Wales
  • 77% of digital companies within clusters say they benefit from access to a network of entrepreneurs to interact with and to share ideas

* Website unavailable at time of publication, ironically.