Edinburgh and Glasgow singled out as UK tech sector rides out pandemic

Scotland’s tech sector is riding out the Covid storm with venture capital investment holding up and salaries on the rise, a new study indicates.

Across the UK, venture capital investment in tech companies hit a record high in 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic. Picture: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez
Across the UK, venture capital investment in tech companies hit a record high in 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic. Picture: AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

Glasgow was highlighted as one of four cities in the UK to see a rise in venture capital investment in 2020, more than doubling to reach $43 million (£32m), up from $16.8m in 2019.

Edinburgh start-ups attracted $112.2m in overall investment, though that was down on the $166.1m recorded in 2019, according to the data, which has been compiled by Adzuna and Dealroom for Tech Nation and the UK government’s Digital Economy Council.

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The Scottish capital had 1,145 vacancies in the tech sector, out of a total of 4,067 – at 28 per cent of total vacancies this is much higher than the national average of 10 per cent.

UK-wide, the average IT-related salary stands at £53,518, the highest level in 12 months. In Edinburgh the average advertised salary for tech jobs is £59,069.

Across the UK, venture capital investment in tech companies hit a record high in 2020 despite the impact of the pandemic. UK tech companies raised some $15 billion in 2020, more than in 2019 and higher than France and Germany combined.

Gerard Grech, chief executive at Tech Nation, said: “The UK’s tech businesses have faced one of the biggest upheavals in a century to pull in $15bn.

“At Tech Nation we have been delighted to continue supporting these incredible businesses and are on track to support over 1,000 tech scale-ups by March 2022, delivering over $1bn of gross value add to the UK economy.”

Justin Kelly, director of business development at Siemens, said: “The UK tech industry has grown beyond compare in the last decade and, as these numbers show, is having a positive impact across all regions.

“From fintech to green energy and manufacturing, these brilliant companies are an example of the UK’s rich history of innovation and will set the tone for the industry for years to come.”

Digital secretary Oliver Dowden added: “It’s fantastic to see the UK’s tech companies flourishing, despite all the challenges of 2020. The thousands of high skilled jobs they are creating will be a crucial part of our economic recovery.”

Tech job vacancies are now at the highest point since May, figures from job search engine Adzuna shows. There were 106,000 IT-related vacancies in March, falling to a low point of 50,367 in July. However, vacancy rates began increasing again in July and are now accumulating at a rate of 2.6 per cent a month, reaching 75,353 in November.

To support the rise of tech jobs, the UK government established the Skills Toolkit, to build skills during the pandemic and beyond. Individuals are able to access free courses helping them understand the fundamentals of digital marketing, learn how to code and the basics of machine learning.

The most in-demand role in the UK is software developer, with in excess of 31,000 vacancies.

Digital minister Caroline Dinenage said: “Despite the challenges of 2020, the UK tech sector has had one of its strongest years yet, creating seven new billion-dollar companies and achieving record levels of investment.”

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