2022 report: The UK tech ecosystem in review
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Today we are delighted to launch the Tech Nation Visa Report, which reveals insights into the international talent landscape and an update on stats for the Global Talent Visa for Digital Technology.
As the race for global tech talent heats up, many countries have been making their pitch to attract the best and brightest tech talent to grow their tech industries and create jobs. The Tech Nation Visa plays a key role in enabling international tech talent to contribute to the UK economy and to the growth of high priority sectors such as AI and Cyber.
Minister for Digital and Culture Caroline Dinenage said:“It’s no surprise the UK’s world-beating technology sector appeals to international talent. Our dynamic companies reflect the UK’s long-standing reputation for innovation and are renowned on the global stage.
“We are open to the brightest and the best talent, and this visa scheme makes it easier for companies across the country to recruit the talent they need to grow.”
Trecilla Lobo, SVP, People at BenevolentAI and Tech Nation Board Director, said: “The UK tech ecosystem continues to contribute to the creation of jobs and to innovative products and services. The Tech Nation Visa enables the UK tech sector to maintain its competitive advantage by attracting the best talent in specialist skills in tech, research and AI and a more globally diverse perspective to help us innovate and create amazing products and services.”
“As an immigrant to the UK in my late teens, the UK visa scheme has enabled me to bring my experience, expertise and contribute to the people agenda for tech scale-ups in the UK, and helped me build a successful career in tech. I am really excited that the Tech Nation Visa will open opportunities and streamline the visa process for future global tech talent.”
The visa has seen applications increase significantly over the past two years, with 45% and 48% increases respectively. From November 2018 until November 2020, the Tech Nation Visa received 1,975 applications and endorsed 920 visas from over 50 countries worldwide. Demand is expected to increase in 2021 with the EU coming into the route.
Stephen Kelly, Chair of Tech Nation, comments: “The UK is a global talent magnet for Tech founders. The UK provides rich opportunities for entrepreneurs to set up, flourish and scale a business. The Global Talent Visa is crucial to making this process easy and accessible.”
“Tech Nation’s Visa Report shows that, despite the pandemic, international interest to work in the UK tech sector has never been higher. Attracting tomorrow’s tech leaders to the UK is crucial to the continued growth of the sector, The UK’s place in the world, and driving the nation through recovery to growth in the digital age.”
52% of those endorsed last year are now employed at leading UK tech firms, helping to fill existing talent gaps, while 28% are tech founders, bringing ideas, talent and capital into the UK’s fast growing tech sector. In 2020, the visa enabled 421 founders to set up business in the UK, up from 400 in 2019.
This global talent is distributed right across the UK. 41% of endorsed applicants for the visa are based outside of London, working in the UK’s strong regional tech hubs. Analysing data on tech founders, we found that 31% of people who are based in Scotland founded a tech company, while that figure rises to 43% in the North East of England, compared to the national average of 28%.
Sumit Janmejai, Data-Driven Cybersecurity Professional at Capgemini, based in London said: “Having studied in the UK and worked with UK professionals, I could appreciate the fact that the UK is fast becoming the center of innovation, research and development in the Tech Industry. Besides that, the country offers an excellent life, welcoming culture, and a safe environment. It was an easy choice.”
App & software development, AI & machine learning, and fintech are the most popular destinations for visa holders, reflecting growth in those tech sub-sectors. India, the US, and Nigeria are the top three countries from which exceptional talent has come into the UK with the Tech Nation visa.
Congcong Wang, Head of Operations at TusPark, based in Cambridge, said: “The UK is a world leading innovation hub, particularly in the fields of AI and Healthcare. Its environment fosters young talent, breeds disruptive innovation and creates amazing companies. Also, the culture of the UK is nurturing and tolerant for innovation, as it is considered a “safe place” for those inspired to take on the more risky route of entrepreneurship.”
Labour markets around the world and in the UK have undergone profound shifts in 2020. The report released today shows that there has been a 200% increase in the volume of users in the UK searching online for terms explicitly related to ‘UK tech visas’ between April and September 20201. This surge in interest to work in the UK’s digital tech sector is reflected globally too, with a 100% increase in users internationally searching for these terms in countries like the US and India.
Average monthly searches for ‘UK tech visa’ Jan 2018 – Sep 2020
Digital tech roles remain in high demand in the UK, although this isn’t uniform across the country. Cyber skills are becoming increasingly important within the UK, particularly in regions such as Wales and the East and West Midlands, where there has been a huge increase at 200%, 140%, and 86% respectively. Demand for AI skills has increased by 111% from 2017 to 2019, with Northern Ireland and Wales having seen the greatest increases in demand for AI jobs at 418% and 200% respectively over the past three years.
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