The North East tech sector is worth almost £1bn and growing more than twice as fast as the rest of the economy, a new report says.

The annual state of the nation report from Tech Nation says tech companies in the region have a combined turnover of £995m, with the sector growing 2.6 times as fast as the rest of the economy while job numbers have risen five times as quickly.

The tech sector’s workforce is older than commonly perceived and more ethnically mixed than the average UK workplace but it still predominantly male, despite efforts to attract more women to tech companies, the report says.

Tech Nation – which was formed by the merger of Tech North and Tech UK – has also praised initiatives in the North East, such as the formation of the Newcastle Tech Trust to help start-ups in the sector and the imminent opening of the North East Futures UTC.

Gerard Grech, chief executive and co-founder of Tech Nation says: “Tech Nation 2018 is the first major milestone of Tech Nation, the organisation now working across the country to build networks that support ambitious entrepreneurs and shine a light on the achievements of our tech sector.



A Virtual Reality industry developer day at the Northern Design Centre, Gateshead

“The UK’s tech sector is growing almost three times faster than the rest of the economy. What started as Tech City is increasingly Tech Nation. London is the world’s second most connected hub after Silicon Valley.

“We need to make the most of that, as our new relationship with the EU will undoubtedly force us to be even more adaptive, innovative and ambitious.”

The Tech Nation report highlights 16 towns where there is a higher proportion of digital tech employment than the UK average, though none are in the North East.

It also highlights some of the challenges facing the tech sector, including access to talent, access to funding and bad transport links.

But the report highlights general positivity within the tech sector, with more than 70% of companies thinking the number of digital tech businesses in their local area will rise over the next 12 months, and more than 90% saying that the scale of digital tech businesses in their local area will either expand or stay the same.

Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport Matt Hancock said: “Tech Nation 2018 highlights the extent to which the digital tech sector is providing new energy to the whole economy. The sector is growing faster and providing more high-paying jobs than the wider economy.

“This is a huge success story for the UK but we also want to make sure that the benefits of the digital tech boom are reaching every corner of the UK, so that we can build a Tech Nation that works for everyone.”



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