High tech jobs recovery gathers pace with Oxford & Bristol among front running cities

Tech Nation 2020 report

The UK tech sector is showing positive steps towards recovery with job vacancies in the industry climbing 50 per cent since the low point in July.

And the UK’s regional tech clusters are leading the way, with four in particular seeing sharply higher levels of venture capital investment in 2020. Oxford, Cambridge, Bristol and Newcastle – achieved more VC investment than last year. Oxford has also overtaken Cambridge to rank second for tech investment by city in the UK.

Oxford’s startups and scaleups raised $479.6 million in investment this year, thanks to interest in the city’s dynamic health-related companies including Oxford Nanopore which raised $84.4 million in October.

“The success of our regional tech hubs is something to celebrate, as is the industry’s resilience by offering high-levels of employment opportunities across a variety of disciplines,” said Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage. “Over the upcoming months, we will work closely with the sector to support tech firms and ensure this momentum can be maintained.”

According to new data compiled by Adzuna and Dealroom for Tech Nation and the Government’s Digital Economy Council, 10 per cent of all UK job vacancies are now in tech. Overall, UK tech employment has increased by 11 per cent in two years to almost three million and more than a third (37 per cent ) of those employed in the digital tech sector are in non-tech roles including legal, marketing, HR and administration, according to analysis of ONS figures.

In fact, data for the last year shows that the tech sector is making positive steps towards recovery from the impact of Covid-19, with job vacancies climbing 50 per cent since the year’s lowest point in July. Since then, job opportunities have increased at a rate of 2.6 per cent  a month, reaching 75,353 open job advertisements in November.

Digital Secretary Oliver Dowden said: “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 and the government is committed to supporting the tech sector through an unashamedly pro-tech approach.”

The UK’s strong track record in creating unicorns – private companies valued at $1 billion or more – continued, with seven new unicorns created this year bringing the total up to 80.

Hopin, a startup that provides online events software, became one of the big UK success stories of 2020 when its lockdown growth attracted a $125m round raised at a valuation of $2.1bn, according to the company.

Other new UK unicorns include Banbury-based electric vehicle startup Arrival, recipe box company Gousto, green energy provider Octopus Energy, e-commerce platforms – athleisure clothing company Gymshark and used car website Cazoo, and cloud communications platform Infobip.