While job vacancies in the tech industry dropped sharply in the summer, they have since climbed 50% and are now accumulating at a rate of 2.6% per month, according to new figures from Tech Nation.
The recovery highlights the resilience of the UK’s digital economy, which now accounts for 10% of all job openings. Tech companies raised £11bn in 2020, a slight increase on 2019 and higher than the rest of Europe combined, according to data from Dealroom.
The bumper investment helped spur on the UK’s track record in creating unicorns - private companies valued at $1bn or more. Seven new unicorns were created in the UK last year, including Gousto, Gymshark and Cazoo, taking the country’s total to 80. According to the report, the UK also boasts more than 130 tech firms valued at between $250m and $800m, signalling a strong pipeline of future unicorns.
According to the latest ONS data, the digital tech economy employs around 3m people, after growing 11% over the last two years. Annual salaries in the tech industry in the UK are also considerably higher, at just over £53,000 compared to almost £37,000 for non-tech jobs, and this is attracting tech workers from overseas.
Applications for UK tech visas reach new record
The number of people applying for UK tech visas is at its highest level since the system launched in 2014. Applications in the third quarter of 2020 were up 42% from the previous quarter, and up 8% from the same time last year. Applicants predominantly came from India, Russia and America, and most were from backgrounds in software development, cloud computing and artificial intelligence.
“The data flies in the face of claims that remote working and Covid-19 will deter people coming to the UK to work. Quite the contrary,” says Stephen Kelly, chair of Tech Nation, who added, “25% of those who receive a visa are founders. These individuals are setting up businesses across the UK, bringing capital and jobs that are fuelling our economic growth.”