Digital business is booming – with around 1.56 million UK employees and an estimated turnover of around £161 billion, the UK’s digital tech industries are now growing 32% faster than the rest of the UK economy.
Hardly surprising when you consider that digital is permeating into industries traditionally thought of as non-digital, and which now account for almost half (42%) of all digital tech economy jobs.
Conducted between September 15, 2015 and October 11, 2015, the Tech Nation 2016 survey built up a clear picture of the UK’s tech industry by following up the results of 1,797 respondents with a series of 42 in-depth, half-hour long interviews with digital businesses and supporting organisations from across the country.
Split into two waves, the first wave of interviews drew its sample from Tech City UK’s contacts and included clusters identified in the first Tech Nation report, while the second focussed on five cities that represent a spread across the UK and included clusters with different characteristics.
Liverpool was one of these five cities, and its growth story is playing a big part in the UK’s booming digital tech economy, having seen a 7% increase in employment and a 52% GVA growth between 2010 and 2014.
Before we dive deeper into the numbers that make up Liverpool’s expanding digital success story, let’s take a closer look at what the digital tech economy is…
What is the digital tech economy?
The digital tech economy is made up of all jobs within the digital tech industries, including computer programming and games publishing, as well as those roles within traditionally non-digital industries, such as financial services and the public sector.
The Tech City UK and Nesta analysis found there are broadly three kinds of job types within the digital tech economy:
- Native – digital job within the digital tech industry, such as a front-end developer at a digital agency.
- Support – non-digital job within the digital tech industry, such as a marketing manager within a data analytics company.
- Transformer – digital job within traditional industries, such as a data scientist for a financial services company.
How the UK’s digital landscape is evolving
In addition to the impressive employment and economic growth figures listed above, the Tech Nation 2016 study also found that job creation in the digital tech economy increased at a rate almost three times that of the rest of country between 2011 and 2014.
Top sectors include app and software development (17%), data management and analytics (12%), and devices and open source hardware (11.5%).
The report also highlighted how the UK’s digital tech economy is not only creating new industries, it’s disrupting and transforming existing ones, with almost half (45%) of businesses operating within marketing, PR and design now classing themselves primarily as digital technology companies.
As you might expect, London provides more digital jobs than any other city in the UK – its 328,233 digital employees dwarfing second-placed Manchester’s 51,091 jobs – but that’s not to say digital a London-centric industry though, as the capital accounts for just 20% of the 1.56 million digital jobs, with the remaining 80% spread right across the UK.
So where does Liverpool fit into all of this?
Liverpool web designers, software and app developers and ecommerce experts have all helped strengthen the city’s position as a digital hub, a position that already had a strong foothold thanks to the gaming heritage carved out by Psygnosis, creators of Amiga and Atari ST favourites like Shadow of the Beast and Terrorpods, and the timeless classic Lemmings.
The city’s Baltic Triangle district is fast becoming a hub for entrepreneurs and innovation, offering co-working spaces and encouraging collaboration to help the cluster grow, with app and software development and ecommerce now among its specialisms.
With some of the UK’s lowest commercial and residential property rates, Liverpool offers great value to both start up and established businesses alike, and there is a vast pool of graduate talent to draw from the city’s respected and established universities and colleges.
Liverpool is home to some 19,535 digital professionals, with an average advertised salary of £42,153, and the city has a digital density (the number of digital tech businesses as percentage of the total number of businesses) of 17%, which is higher than the regional average.
Baltic residents include Apposing, a mobile-first digital innovation agency, with a client list that includes BBC, McDonalds and Playstation; Milky Tea, an animation, illustration and gaming development studio; and Dorothy, designers of music, film and book inspired prints, products and other curiosities, who recently upped sticks from their Manchester base to become part of the Baltic community.
EdgeThreeSixty has been operating from the heart of the Baltic Triangle since September this year, so we know first-hand the benefits of working and socialising as part of such a vibrant community.
Liverpool is one of the UK’s foremost digital cities, and The Baltic Triangle is the city’s focal point for digital innovation, design and creativity. The area is continually being redeveloped and re-energised, having had major backing from Liverpool Vision, which has helped set up Baltic Creative CIC and a number of networking initiatives, and we’re proud to be a part of it.
- Phil Smears, Managing Director at EdgeThreeSixty digital solutions agency.
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