UK IT workforce increasing at fastest rate since the end of 2008’s recession

The growth of the IT sector in the UK has accelerated to its fastest rate since the end of the recession, according to contractor accountancy provider Nixon Williams.

Nixon Williams analysed data obtained from a variety of recent reports published by the Office of National Statistics, which show that there are currently 154,765 active IT enterprises in the UK, a 7.9 per cent increase on the previous year when there were 143,450 active IT enterprises.

The rate of new business creation in the IT sector is at its highest level since before the start of recession in 2008.

The number of active enterprises in the IT sector fell by 0.3%, from 123,065 to 122,685 between 2008 and 2009, and has increased at an annual rate of 6.3% between 2009 and 2013, before surging by 7.9% over the past year.

At the same time, demand for IT skills is accelerating. The total size of the IT workforce is also increasing at its fastest rate since the end of the recession.

A further 24,000 IT jobs were added over the past year, an increase of 5.2 per cent on the previous year. By comparison, the number of financial service sector jobs – which often competes with tech companies for the best talent – declined from 1,178,000 in 2009 to 929,000 in 2015, a fall of 21 per cent.

Daniel Knowles, practice manager at Nixon Williams, commented: “The UK tech sector continues to flourish, driving economic growth and providing a leading role in job creation. By some estimates the tech hub around London’s ‘silicon roundabout’ is outpacing Silicon Valley for growth, and this is being closely matched by the rate of digital start-ups in regional tech clusters, such as in Liverpool and Manchester.

“The growth in London’s financial technology sector is being driven by the rapid uptake of new technologies by affluent and young consumers. This is attracting record levels of venture capital investment into the sector. Not only is London a hub for UK tech start-ups, but it is also a magnet for foreign tech businesses, which view London as a springboard to internationalisation.”

Knowles added: “Despite the success of London, the UK’s innovation ecosystem is increasingly comprised of regional tech clusters, many of which are developing their own key strengths, as like-minded entrepreneurs conglomerate and feed off each other. The high cost of workspace and staff in London is making Manchester and other cities increasingly attractive for start-ups. Manchester, for example, is carving out a niche in areas such as big-data analytics and cyber security.”

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