Edinburgh enjoying digital jobs boom

Written by Jenni Davidson on 21 May 2018 in News

Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee are all named as key areas for digital in the Tech Nation 2018 report finds

Jamie Coleman, co-founder and chair of the CodeBase tech accelerator - Image credit: Murdo MacLeod

Digital tech jobs in Edinburgh increased at over three times the national average between 2014 and 2017, according to a new report by Tech UK.

There was a rise of 42 per cent in three years in the capital from 6,814 jobs in the technology sector in 2014 to 9,704 in 2017.

The tech industry body’s Tech Nation 2018 report examines the three key tech clusters in Scotland: Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee.

It finds all three contributing significant amounts to the economy.

Digital tech turnover in Edinburgh was worth £1.14bn in 2017 and contributed £1.3bn gross value added (GVA), while Glasgow was just behind, with 1.05bn of digital tech turnover in 2017, contributing £1.31bn GVA, and Dundee produced £181m of tech turnover, contributing £205m to GVA.

Like Edinburgh, the number of jobs in the digital sector in Dundee had increased, from 1,131 in 2014 to 1,569 in 2017, while turnover had nearly doubled from £94,011 in 2014.

The number of jobs in the tech sector in Glasgow dropped by 12.8 per cent from 11,541 to 10,063 between 2014 and 2017 and turnover decreased from 1.09bn.

A survey was also carried out among the tech communities in each city to find out top strengths and challenges in their area.

In Edinburgh the strengths were named as a helpful tech community, an appealing area and the proximity of a university.

The top three challenges were access to funding, access to talent and a lack of awareness of the local tech community.

In Glasgow the strengths were proximity of a university, business opportunities, access to talent, while access to funding, retaining talent and availability of workspace were key challenges.

The Dundee tech community named proximity to a university, a helpful tech community and diversity of talent as key strengths, with access to talent, access to funding and lack of collaboration named as challenges.

While Glasgow was noted for its strengths in data and space technology, as well as a being a hub for tech meetups, Edinburgh was recognised for its culture of collaboration, including the UK’s largest tech incubator, CodeBase, and Dundee for its computer science and gaming courses.

Gaming entrepreneurs, Chris van der Kuyl and Paddy Burns, of 4J Studios, were named as top inspirations in Dundee.

They have recently launched Water’s Edge, a new co-working space which aims to attract businesses with an appetite for innovation, as part of the city's £1bn waterfront regeneration project.

Van der Kuyl said: “Dundee is a well-known centre for game development and has a great supply of new talent from both of the universities.”

Michael Hayes, co-founder of Add Jam, was named as an influencer in Glasgow.

He said businesses in the city benefited from the low cost of living.

But he added: “There’s a prevailing culture in Glasgow of failure being a bad thing.

“We need to flip that around and create an environment where individuals are given the ability to launch products and services, fail, and start over again.”

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