At the Sheffield City Region CBI Annual Dinner on 10th May 2018, Director-General Carolyn Fairbairn said that “Sheffield was right at the centre of the industrial revolution and is now right at the centre of the digital revolution”.
Carolyn recognised what we already know here in Sheffield; that the city has successfully harnessed its world-renowned heritage in manufacturing, arts, crafts and creative innovation and set a new trajectory which is aiming to make the city a thriving digital cluster that can create new growth opportunities and enhance and transform the lives of those who live, work and play in the city.
The most recent Tech Nation report would support this. Tech Nation has a vision to make the UK the best place to imagine, start and grow a digital business. Each year, they publish the Tech Nation report to capture the strength, depth and breadth of digital tech activity in the UK. The first Tech Nation report was published in 2015 to help develop an understanding of the vibrant digital tech landscape in the UK. The latest report showed that Sheffield is on the up.
Figure 1 shows Digital Tech Turnover Growth – that is the difference between the turnovers produced by digital tech firms (those the Office for National Statistics classifies as being in the digital technology sector) in 2017 and that produced in 2016. The chart shows this as a percentage of 2016 turnovers, i.e. the percentage it’s grown by. It shows this for Sheffield, London, and the next 15 largest urban areas in the UK, as defined by a combination of Travel to Work Areas, which Tech Nation’s Data is based on, and the top 10 most populous cities in the UK according to the Centre for Cities’ Data Tool.
Sheffield’s tech industry turnover grew by £82m last year to £745m, an increase of more 12% – the largest increase of all major UK cities, beating Manchester (4%), Leeds (7%), Bristol (1%), Birmingham (6%) and Glasgow (0%) with only London (11%) near Sheffield’s growth. This demonstrates that our tech and digital sector is growing but is also harnessing productivity.
Figure 2 shows that Sheffield’s Tech Industry also added a lot of jobs last year, growing by 7.48% to 6,209, which ranks it 4th in this list. Note that these figures are specifically for high-value technology jobs that have been created by digital tech companies. Those firms also created many non-technical jobs, of course, and overall there are more than 22,000 people employed in digital technology roles across the city – the vast majority for firms where their core business does not classify them as being in the digital tech sector. Again, Sheffield’s performance beats other leading digital cities like Manchester (6%), Leeds (3%), Bristol (-1%), Birmingham (6%), Glasgow (0%) and London (6%).
This is not accidental and is the result of focus and hard work to establish strong local partnerships that make Sheffield a perfect digital and tech ecosystem.
The full Tech Nation Report 2018 is here: https://technation.io/insights/report-2018/
Credit: Graphics and some content by Chris Dymond, Sheffield Digital.