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08 Jun 2023

Can the UK tech sector really quadruple by 2032?

Can the UK tech sector really quadruple by 2032?

In the midst of a slowdown precipitated by a number of global and domestic factors, one major success story in the UK in recent years has been the continuing growth of the tech sector. 

In 2022, with the impact of the global Covid-19 pandemic spreading into almost every corner of economies across the world, the UK tech sector became the third to reach a valuation of $1tn – a landmark that only the US and China hit first. Arriving there ahead of a rapidly-developing India and the UK’s fellow G7 members Germany, Japan and France was a reminder of the UK’s punching power at a time when its strength in other areas was being questioned. 

Recent forecasts are now offering even more optimism. A report published at the end of March by Tech Nation predicted that the UK tech sector could quadruple in value to $4tn within the next decade, if government policy follows certain criteria to ensure the sector has the best chance of realising its potential. 

What is clear is that data platforms such as mnAi can play an increasingly important role in helping the tech sector in the UK reach such a lofty, but achievable, target. 

Illustrative of this is that one aspect of the key findings and recommendations from the report relates to diversity, or the relative lack of, in the UK tech sector. One of the mnAi platform’s key components is its comprehensive diversity and inclusion data for millions of UK companies and individuals. Over the last five years, the percentage of tech sector workers from underrepresented ethnic groups has risen, but only by around 2%. Furthermore, research shows that males outnumber females by three-to-one and on average are also paid less than their male counterparts. 

“While the data shows that some progress is being made, it’s slow and we all know that UK tech still has a lot of work to do,” according to Elizabeth Scott, OBE, Client Engagement Director at Tech Nation. 

“As well as doing more to support under-represented founders access the support and funding they need, as an ecosystem we still need better visibility and access to tech jobs. Achieving representation in the UK tech workforce would give everyone a seat at the table, enabling changes to the way businesses are run, new ideas and value creation.” 

Figures also show that the UK ranks third globally for VC investment into its tech sector, having reclaimed that position from India in 2022. The UK remains comfortably ahead of all of their European neighbours, but over the last five years it hasn’t been able to match the year-on-year results recorded by France, whose tech sector has achieved growth every year for the past decade. 

To avoid being caught up by established nations close to home and by emerging economies further afield, Government and business must work together if the UK is to retain its reputation and position as a global force. 

“The UK is still the number one tech hub in Europe by some margin, and number three in the world,” commented Yoko Spirig, co-founder and CEO of Ledgy.

“But other tech hubs like Berlin and Paris are building talent and investment capacity all the time, rapidly closing the gap – so [the UK] can’t afford to rest on its laurels. For the UK to maintain this position and continue to attract tech firms, it needs to continue creating and fostering the optimal environment for companies to come and operate here.” 

If these calls to action are heeded by those who make key policy decisions, the future for all of us in the UK tech sector can be very exciting indeed. 

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Can the UK tech sector really quadruple by 2032?