Top tech hubs in the South West of England

Bristol - South West of England

The latest Tech Nation report from Tech City UK features 30 tech clusters, including five in the South West of England – Bournemouth and Poole; Bristol and Bath; Exeter; Plymouth; and Truro and Redruth.

The region’s digital tech sector has a Gross Value Added (GVA) of over £2.3bn, which means companies in this space pump £2.3bn into the economy after their cost of operation is taken away. By comparison, the tech communities of the eight city clusters across the North (Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Sheffield, Hull, Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough) have a combined GVA of £5.8bn.

Between 2011 and 2015, an average of 582 startups were created per year across the five South West clusters.

Jim Strong, founder and director of mapping platform Geo.me, said: “The South West has a deep pool of skilled talent, good quality of life and great value for money too. There is also a great networking community for building relationships.”

Here’s a quick summary of the findings from each of the five clusters:

Tech in Bournemouth and Poole

In Bournemouth and Poole, some 15,763 people are employed in digital technology, with an average advertised digital salary of £39,508. The area’s digital tech sector has a GVA of £352m.

Some 26% of digital tech businesses in the area are classed as ‘high growth’ and an average of 199 startups were born there each year from 2011-2015.

44% of those who responded to Tech City UK’s Tech Nation survey said they think the talent supply in the area is ‘good’, while 95% used the same word to describe their quality of life.

Average house price: £263,631.

Tech in Bristol and Bath

The area encompassing Bristol and Bath includes significantly more tech employees than Bournemouth and Poole – 35,924, to be precise.

The average salary for tech professionals is £47,063 and the area’s GVA averaged £1.7bn from 2013-2015.

Some 17.4% of the area’s tech firms are classified as ‘high growth’, with an average of 225 startups setting up in the area each year from 2011-2015. In the same period, digital business turnover increased 87%.

Of those tech professionals surveyed, 41% said they thought the local talent supply was ‘good’, with 92% stating their quality of life is ‘good’.

Average house price: £315,523.

Tech in Exeter

Exeter’s tech community employs 14,018 people, who command an average salary of £38,204. This is significant;y higher than the average non-digital salary of £29,481.

The city had an average GVA of £150m from 2013-2015, with an average of 82 new tech startups springing up per year from 2011-2015.

Some 98% of local tech workers said they have a good quality of life, but just 22% said the talent supply in the area is ‘good’.

Average house price: £263,439

Tech in Plymouth

In Plymouth, just 6,404 people are employed in digital tech economy jobs and they earn an average salary of £42,275.

The city’s digital GVA averaged £82m per year from 2013-2015 and digital business turnover increased 9% from 2011-2015. In this same period, an average of 54 tech startups were born in Plymouth each year.

Some 83% of local tech workers said they have a good quality of life, while only 49% said the talent supply is ‘good’.

Paul Wright, CEO and founder of MarTech firm Iotec, said: “Plymouth has an increasingly forward-looking and supportive approach to startups in the digital tech space. We’ve just moved into the new state-of-the-art building in Plymouth Science Park – One Research Way. We’re in great company, with dozens of innovative startups and plenty of space for us to grow.

Average house price: £185,881.

Tech in Truro and Redruth

Just 1,380 people are employed in digital tech jobs in Truro and Redruth, with an average salary of £31,322.

The digital GVA of the area averaged £39m from 2013-2015, with digital business turnover increasing 51% from 2011-2015.

An average of just 22 startups were set up in the area per year from 2011-2015. This could be due to a lack of skilled tech workers – the survey found just 12% of the local tech community felt the talent supply was ‘good’.

However, a very high percentage of those surveyed (91%) said they had a good quality of life.

Average house price: £148,125

Tech City News is accompanying Tech City UK on its Tech Nation tour (before you ask, we’re not connected, we just have similar names!) Stay tuned for more coverage and regional analysis. The North East roundup can be found here.