Tech City UK: Salaries Surge across the UK for ‘Twice as Productive’ Tech Workers

  • UK tech workers paid on average 44% more than non-tech workers
  • Digital economy is one of the UK economy’s success stories, growing at twice the rate of the wider economy and key to boosting UK productivity
  • Well-paid jobs being created across the nation with strong salary growth in Newcastle, Leeds and Sheffield in particular
  • Digital tech contribution to the economy (GVA) - worth £97 bn - is up 30% in five years

LONDON--()--People who want to secure a well-paid job on leaving school or university should consider a career in the tech sector, as average salaries are 44 per cent higher than those in the wider economy, a major new report reveals.

Tech Nation 2017, the latest edition of the annual report from Tech City UK, finds that the average advertised salary for digital-tech jobs has now reached £50,663 a year, compared with £35,155 for the average non-digital salary. Since 2012 there has been a 13 per cent increase in the advertised salaries of digital tech posts, compared with only a 4 per cent rise in those of non-digital jobs.

The publication makes clear to what extent the digital tech sector is helping to fuel the growth of the UK economy.

Tech Nation 2017 shows that the UK digital tech sector is one of the country’s economic success stories, growing twice as fast as the wider economy and creating highly skilled and well-paid jobs. The sector remains at the epicentre of the European tech scene but the new report also reveals some important new data that underlines how significant the sector is to generating economic growth nationwide.

  • More than 1.6 million people work in the digital-tech sector, where tech salaries are now on average 44% higher than salaries in non-digital jobs
  • The average salary in the sector has now reached £50,663.
  • Since 2012 there has been a 13% increase in the advertised salaries of digital tech posts, compared with only a 4% rise in those of non-digital jobs.

The publication also demonstrates how the UK’s digital economy is now at the epicentre of Europe and attracting more new investment than any other continental country. In 2016, the UK continued to lead all other European nations in terms of the size and value of its tech sector. Investors from around the world ploughed £6.8bn into the UK digital sector, significantly more than its closest rival, France, which secured £2.4bn and Germany £1.4bn.

For young people with the right digital tech skills, there is a wealth of opportunity across the country. While the sector’s highest salaries are achieved in the capital, London does not have a monopoly on earning power. According to the report, most tech clusters have seen strong growth in digital tech salaries, while Newcastle, Sheffield and Leeds have experienced particularly impressive growth with salaries rising by over 25% in just five years.

New data on the salaries that can be achieved in the tech sector follows the unveiling of the Government’s Digital Strategy earlier this month, which lays out a plan to give millions of people the skills to build a world-leading digital economy. More than 2,700 people working or investing in the tech community were surveyed for Tech Nation 2017 and more than half of them said that their biggest challenge was finding people with suitable digital skills.

One important aspect of the 2017 report is the level of growth seen in the tech sectors in the regions outside of London and the South East. In 2016, for the first time ever, more investment from venture capital or private equity funds went to companies’ whose headquarters are outside of London. The regions attracted 68 per cent of all VC and private equity investment in the UK.

Tech Nation 2017 is published with a foreword by the Prime Minister in which she acknowledges that digital businesses are strengthening local economies nationwide. Theresa May also repeats the Government’s commitment to building on the UK’s strengths in this area, putting the digital sector at the heart of the Government’s modern industrial strategy.

Key Findings TECH NATION 2017

UK is the digital capital of Europe

  • Over the last 5 years (2011-2016), the UK attracted over £28bn of Tech investment, followed by France at £11bn and Germany £9.3bn.
  • London attracted £2.2 billion of VC and PE investment in 2016, around £1 billion more than its two closest competitors, Amsterdam (£1.15Bn) and Paris (£1.07Bn).
  • Last year, the overall number of VC and PE-backed startup deals fell across the 10 largest European digital tech hubs, and digital tech investment was 34 per cent lower than in 2015.
  • This reflects a broader global correction, following record inflows during 2015 and reflects heightened economic and political uncertainty across Europe and the US in 2016
  • The UK tech sector saw record levels of M&A in 2016
  • The largest deal in the sector was the £24 billion sale of Cambridge-based Arm Holdings to Softbank of Japan
  • London has twice as many Github users (23,265) as Paris (11,990) or Berlin (10,145), with over a quarter of Github users located in the capital. (Github is Europe’s leading open-source platform for developers)
  • In 2016, nearly 22,000 Meetups took place in London, nearly three times more than in Berlin (7,963), Amsterdam (7,915) or Paris (7,581)
  • Other notable deals included Micro-Focus’s acquisition the software assets of Hewlett Packard Enterprise, the acquisition of SwiftKey by Microsoft, of Housetrip by TripAdvisor, of Magic Pony by Twitter, of One Fine Stay by Accor Group and of Skyscanner by Ctrip.

UK sees digital growth across many parts of the UK

Job creation:

  • Between 2011 and 2015 the number of digital tech jobs across the UK grew by 17 per cent, which is more than twice the eight percent growth seen in non-digital sectors.
  • UK tech is growing rapidly outside the capital
  • From traditional tech clusters such as Cambridge and Bristol & Bath, to emerging tech hubs such as Sheffield, Sunderland and Brighton, record investment flowed into the regions in 2016.
  • Last year, 68% of UK tech investment was recorded outside London (£4.6bn)
  • The number of digital tech businesses that have been started London is up 42 per cent over five years. Meanwhile, in Newcastle the number of new businesses started has leapt by 39 per cent and in Belfast it is 37 per cent.
  • According to Tech Nation 2017, London, Bournemouth & Poole and Newcastle are home to the highest concentrations of high growth digital tech businesses in the UK.

Strong salary growth:

  • Tech jobs offer high salaries. The average advertised salary is now £50,663 compared with £35,155 for the non-digital workforce.
  • Digital and tech salaries are on average an impressive 44% higher than those of non-digital jobs.
  • The difference between digital and non-digital salaries continues to grow. Since 2012, there has been a 13% increase in the advertised salaries of digital tech jobs, compared to only a 4% increase in those of non-digital jobs. This indicates that the market for digital tech skills is very competitive.


  • The Gross Value Added (Digital Economic Contribution) of a digital tech worker in the UK is now more than twice that of a non-digital worker (£103,000 compared to £50,000).
  • There is a significant and growing productivity gap between the digital tech sector and non-digital sectors.
  • Over the last five years, the gap has increased from £48,000 to £53,000.

Based on its exclusive survey, Tech Nation 2017 also highlights six areas which survey respondents highlighted that are needed for digital tech growth and innovation to continue, reflecting the challenges facing the tech sector as the country prepares to leave the European Union in the next few years.

  • Skilling up the nation - more than half of survey respondents said finding employees with the right skills was a major challenge, given the pace of change of the industry
  • Attracting the best and brightest of global talent - survey respondents felt that this must remain a priority particularly in light of Brexit
  • Gender diversity - in more than half of tech businesses surveyed, men outnumber women three to one thereby leaving a huge untapped pool of talent
  • Access to finance, at every stage of growth - even at current levels of investment which outpace the rest of Europe, investment capital is still behind other regions including the USA and centres in Asia
  • Digital connectivity - staying abreast of technology advancements such as 5G is key to staying internationally competitive
  • Developing co-working spaces - government, local government and businesses should work together to support co-working spaces

Tech Nation 2017 provides overwhelming evidence that the UK’s digital tech sector is critical to the nation’s economic growth, and highlights the importance of continuing the momentum achieved in the last five years. A number of those who work and invest in the sector reiterated the need for UK companies to be able to hire highly skilled workers from around the world, in what is a global industry. Many of those questioned for the report stressed the importance of an immigration system that allows the sector to continue to attract the brightest and the best when we leave the EU.


Burlington CC for Tech City UK
Katy Zack

Release Summary

Tech Nation 2017, the annual report from Tech City UK, makes clear to what extent the digital tech sector is helping to fuel the growth of the UK economy.


Burlington CC for Tech City UK
Katy Zack