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Oxford tech

The COVID-19 has affected every one of us in one or another way. The impact was way more for those who own businesses around the world regardless of their size. 

However, businesses around the globe are gradually navigating the operational and financial challenges while addressing the needs of their customers and suppliers.

National series of roundtable discussions

In this regard, Tech Nation, the UK network for ambitious tech entrepreneurs, and job search engine Adzuna revealed new figures on jobs and skills in Oxford’s tech sector at a virtual summit in the presence of Minister for Digital Caroline Dinenage, as part of a national series of roundtable discussions. 

Hosted by Saul Klein, founding partner of UK investor LocalGlobe, the lunchtime discussion will allow the Digital Minister to hear how companies in the region are tackling the jobs and skills challenges that the coronavirus has exacerbated. The learnings will be fed back to the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport).  

Increasing demand for specialist roles

According to the data, Oxford’s startups and scaleups raised $523 million (approx £392 million) in investment in 2020. 

This is mainly due to investments in scaleups like biotech unicorn Oxford Nanopore which raised $84.4 million in October, as well as AI and big data healthtech platform Exscientia which raised $60 million in May. 

Also, many new startups in the city have been reporting Series A rounds including AI startup Mind Foundry and scalable quantum computing company Quantum Motion, claims the report.  

Tech sector showing recovery

The data also says that the tech sector is on the path to recovery, with a total of 575 IT-related open roles in Oxford, nearly one-fifth of the city’s total open vacancies. 

Furthermore, there is an increasing demand for specialist roles across the city’s startups and scaleups as the tech sector recovers from the initial impact of the coronavirus crisis. 

There are now 116 startups and scaleups in the city along with established tech companies such as Premier IT and Nominet UK. 

Ranked third

Oxford University is a driving force in the city’s startup ecosystem, with the university ranked third in the UK when it comes to producing European companies and founders. 

Minister for Digital Caroline Dinenage said: “Oxford has a longstanding reputation as a hotbed of innovation. It is home to a world-class and high-skilled tech sector that has developed around the local universities and is a top destination for tech investment.

“I was delighted to join entrepreneurs, investors, and ecosystem experts from right across the South East of England to celebrate the success and resilience of the tech sector, and to find out how the UK government can do more to support this powerful tech story.”

Dr George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation said: “With growing investment figures and increasing salary offerings, Oxford’s tech sector demonstrates how important regional tech clusters are to the strength of the UK economy. It’ll be interesting to hear from those at the heart of the city’s tech community on what needs to be done to ensure startups and scaleups have the support they need to grow in years to come.” 

Andrew Hunter, co-founder at Adzuna said: “The Covid-19 pandemic hit recruiting hard across industries but the tech sector has proved resilient, as these figures from Oxford demonstrate. The challenge for many companies will be to ensure they have the right talent to grow, particularly when it comes to software engineers which are in high demand.”

Gordon Sanghera, CEO at Oxford Nanopore: “In 2020, the profile of Oxford as a centre of tech and life sciences excellence has come into its own. It’s increasingly easy to attract talented people who might have otherwise wanted to work in the hubs of London and Cambridge, as they are attracted to the ecosystem as well as the company and the city. We’re looking forward to growing further in 2021 and harnessing this talent base to bring to market more innovative solutions for biological analysis – including building on the Covid analysis work from 2020.”