Employees in the UK’s growing digital technology sector can expect to earn better salaries than in the rest of the economy, according to the latest government-backed analysis of the industry.
According to the Tech Nation 2016 report, the average advertised salary in digital roles is just under £50,000, 36% higher than the national average. The advertised pay for such jobs grew by 13% between 2012 and 2015.
Digital technology industries are growing 32% faster than the average for businesses in other sectors, according to the report, and have a combined annual turnover of £161bn. The tech economy accounts for nearly 1.6m jobs and is also creating highly paid opportunities.
Three-quarters of digital tech businesses operate outside of London, according to the report, and many of these are located in what are known as tech clusters.
Geoff Mulgan, the chief executive of Nesta, which supports innovation and is a backer of the report alongside Tech City UK, said: “Digital technologies are unlike any others – they change everything businesses do. That’s why, as this research confirms, digital jobs and activity are becoming more important in apparently non-digital industries.
“And it’s why the premium is so high, at an average of over £15,000 for digital over non-digital jobs. I hope that parents and teenagers will get the message – that acquiring digital skills pays off, wherever you are.”
Alexandra Jones, the chief executive of the thinktank Centre for Cities called for more work to be done to tackle congestion and a shortage of affordable homes in areas that house a large number of digital companies. She also called for more skills training across the UK.
She said: “The world of work is changing, and places which can support jobs and businesses in the digital sector and other high-skilled industries will have the best prospects of sustainable long-term economic growth.”
But she added: “Many of the places which are already home to large numbers of digital jobs, including London, Cambridge and Reading, also face major challenges such as congestion and a shortage of affordable homes. Investing in transport and building more housing will be crucial to ensure these places – already clusters of digital firms – can continue to attract talent, jobs and firms in the digital sector and other innovative industries in the years to come.”
Mulgan said it was important to spread the digital economy across the country. “The UK is a large country and it would be mad to concentrate on just one or two centres ... we should be able to support several globally competitive centres,” he said.
This article was written by David Hellier, for theguardian.com on Thursday 11th February 2016 00.32 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010