Yorkshire’s digital industry is the fastest growing in the whole of the UK and is set to create 42,000 digital tech jobs

Yorkshire is on track to create 42,000 digital tech jobs over the next four years, according to a new Government report.

New analysis released ahead of Leeds Digital Festival revealed that Yorkshire’s digital industry is the fastest growing in the whole of the UK and IT vacancies have increased by 36 per cent in the region, with salaries also rising.

Yorkshire has been successful in attracting large digital sector employers, particularly in Leeds which is home to Sky’s digital technology division and Channel 4’s new national HQ.

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The region is also home to a combined 1,281 startups and scaleups, which are transforming industries such as health, transportation and fashion.

Leeds is the centre of the region’s digital sector, with 1,256 open IT-related vacanciesLeeds is the centre of the region’s digital sector, with 1,256 open IT-related vacancies
Leeds is the centre of the region’s digital sector, with 1,256 open IT-related vacancies

The report said that Yorkshire tech companies have raised nearly £120m in the first eight months of the year and there have been 42 venture capital rounds so far this year, topping 2018’s record of 38.

It found that the digital sector is expected to grow by at least £1.6bn in annual GVA (gross value added) by 2025.

The new Government report indicated the county’s thriving digital tech sector is likely to grow substantially over the next four years.

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The figures on the region’s flourishing digital sector were revealed by Digital Minister, Chris Philp, who spoke to founders and investors at Leeds Digital Festival, the annual two week event which celebrates digital culture in all its forms.

Other key figures, compiled by job search engine Adzuna and Dealroom for the UK’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation, show that tech companies in the region are on track to beat 2020’s venture capital investment levels eight months into the year and IT-related job vacancies have increased by more than a third.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Highly skilled digital workers are very much in demand in Yorkshire with employees including Sky, Channel 4 and Asda vying for talent alongside growing startups.

"As the sector continues this growth streak, salaries are likely to become more competitive as businesses aim to attract more staff.”

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Announcing key findings from the DCMS Regional Ecosystems Report at the Digital Festival, Mr Philp said: "I’m delighted that Yorkshire and the Humber’s digital sector is entering a golden era.

"The county is rapidly becoming a powerhouse of digital talent providing brilliant job opportunities for those who want to pursue a career in tech.

"We are working tirelessly to back digital businesses with pro-innovation policies which are creating jobs, wealth and boosting people's digital skills. The sector's growth across the region is important to our mission to level up, ensuring everyone has the opportunity to benefit from the jobs and success the sector provides."

The report said that as the UK starts to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, Yorkshire’s digital economy is enjoying a growth spurt.

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There are now over 5,000 IT-related job roles available across the region, compared with 3,781 in November 2020, an increase of 36 per cent.

Leeds is the centre of the region’s digital sector, with 1,256 open IT-related vacancies. Tech jobs now make up 27 per cent of all available jobs in the city, compared with 22 per cent the year before.

In Sheffield, tech jobs make up 23 per cent of all available jobs, up from 20 per cent the previous year.

The report said that the recent growth in digital sector jobs in Yorkshire has been higher than the growth of any other region in the UK, increasing at 8.2 per cent a year.

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This growth is expected to continue with the sector set to scale in size from 142,000 people employed in digital tech, to 184,000 people by 2025.

Notable funding rounds this year include Big Change, an enterprise software company which helps clients plan, manage and schedule mobile workforces, which raised £75m in growth equity funding. Rinri Therapeutics, a biotech which is developing advanced stem-cell based therapies to treat hearing loss, raised £10m in Series A funding.

The region has produced two unicorn companies - tech companies worth $1bn or more - in Sky Betting and Gaming and Callcredit.

It is also home to two futurecorns, the digital pharmacy service Pharmacy2U and risk intelligence platform Crisp, that are expected to reach unicorn valuation in the next few years.

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Dr George Windsor, head of data and insights at Tech Nation, said: “Over the past few years Yorkshire, and particularly Leeds, has grown massively in strength as a tech hub.

"We are seeing both large digital sector employees moving into the region as well as innovative startups setting up shop here. This growth is set to continue with the sector expected to double in size over the next few years.”

Stuart Clarke, festival director at Leeds Digital Festival, said: “Leeds is one of the best places in the UK to launch a tech company.

"We have a brilliant influx of talent from the universities across the city and the wider region, and a welcoming community ready to assist with anything you may need.

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"It’s this collaborative spirit that has seen the digital sector thrive here, and it's something we look forward to celebrating every year at Leeds Digital Fest, which has become the largest open platform tech event in the UK.”

With a median salary of £37,250 for digital tech roles, Leeds is ranked as the fifth most attractive city in the UK for cost of living versus salary for tech roles.

The highest paying jobs in the city include technical architect with an average advertised salary of £77,804, solutions architect with an average advertised salary of £70,107 and java developer with an average advertised salary of £68,000. All roles require experience with software development, web architecture and system administration.

There are more IT jobs available in Leeds (1,256) than any other sector, followed by accounting and finance jobs (704) and sales jobs (697).

The top companies hiring for IT jobs in Leeds include Asda, Leeds Building Society and Sky Group.