Tech Nation Report

Edinburgh leading UK technology jobs and pay boom


Skyscanner: an Edinburgh-created unicorn, though now owned by the Chinese (pic: Terry Murden)

Edinburgh has created three times as many jobs in the technology sector than the UK average, with salaries almost 15% more than other jobs in the city, according to a report published today.

Tech Nation’s Bright Tech Future Jobs/Skills report says the city’s tech sector contributed nearly £4 billion in revenue to the economy last year and employs almost 60,000 people.

Recent figures on venture capital investment into the UK tech sector showed that 2019 is turning into an exceptional year for the country as a whole, with $6.7bn invested in tech companies so far this year and Scottish tech firms raising $53m in funding so far in 2019.

One in five job vacancies advertised in Edinburgh is in the tech sector, with the average tech job in the city paying £42,500. In terms of spending power, Edinburgh is the best place for an analyst to work in the UK, while Glasgow tops the list for project managers. 

Tech Nation unveiled its report during the Bright Tech Series tour stopover at Codebase, Edinburgh, home of the UK’s largest tech incubator. The aim of the event is to gather evidence on the talent and skills challenge that tech companies face. Evidence from the session will be used to inform recommendations to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

It was hosted by Tech Nation’s head of insights George Windsor and Hazel Gibbens, Scotland’s entrepreneur engagement manager.

Mr Windsor said: “Edinburgh has established itself as a thriving tech hub not just in Scotland but across the whole of the UK. The Tech Nation report reveals it has played a key role in the success of the UK’s booming tech sector, contributing billions into the economy and the city and punching well above its weight to beat UK averages for job creation, salaries and digital tech turnover.” 

Vicky Brock, CEO and founder of vistalworks, and who is involved in the forthcoming Women in Technology conference in Edinburgh, said: “Scotland is a fantastic place for a tech business to flourish because you have all the skills you need on your doorstep.

“A supportive network of entrepreneurs and an active investment scene, coupled with world-class universities – and the fact that it’s such a friendly and beautiful part of the world to live in – combine to make it a truly unique place to run a digital tech business.”

Edinburgh is credited with creating three of the UK’s tech unicorns – travel comparison site Skyscanner, fantasy sports platform FanDuel and data consultancy group Wood Mackenzie – although the latter is generally regarded as a data consultancy and has been in the city since it was founded in 1973 to review the North Sea oilfields.

None is still in UK ownership. Skyscanner was acquired by China-based Ctrip in 2016, while FanDuel is now based in New York and was acquired by Dublin-based Paddy Power Betfair in 2018. Wood Mackenzie has gone through many owners over the years and in 2015 was bought by US data analytics and risk assessment firm Verisk Analytics.

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