Welcome to your roundup of some of the past week’s most interesting surveys, statistics and reports relevant to those involved in the UK tech industry.
This week we bring you the latest stats on London’s coworking community, the UK’s position within the global EdTech VC market, consumers’ trust in chats for legal advice, IT’s contribution to the country’s economy and the rise in businesses trying to recruit digital innovators.
London co-working and employee satisfaction
Research released by The Office Group (TOG) after surveying over 1,000 of its members, has shown that London co-workers are now happier and more productive than in their previous working lives.
The research found that more than half of workers (63%) choose to socialise with fellow members. Interestingly, just under 32% of TOG members work with, or alongside another member and the same number seek help or advice from those they work alongside in the same building.
Some 38% say they have worked with another member at some time.
Additionally, the report found that only 38% of workers are tethered to their desks all day, while others make use of alternative and communal spaces.
Unsurprisingly, TOG found that 80% of workers are now happier than in their previous working life, with more than a fifth (22%) saying they could not be happier.
The structure of the working week is also changing, the data suggests.
Londoners are increasingly clustering ‘face-time’ into three days in the middle of the week and digital devices obviously mean there is less need to turn up day in, day out.
Olly Olsen, Co-CEO at TOG, commented: “Over the past few years, there has been a generational shift in the way in which we work. Millennials, which now account for around 35% of the UK’s workforce, are reshaping the workplace. This younger generation has a more flexible approach to the working day – they might turn up “late”, coffee in hand, but will usually stay late, and they won’t necessarily work from their desks all day.
“Wellness has moved up the agenda. The health and happiness of employees is now a top priority, as employers recognise the knock-on effect this has on productivity and attracting and retaining talent. Providing facilities in a building that can make it easier to achieve this wellbeing is now a fundamental, whether that’s a cafe with healthy, nutritious food, an on-site gym or proper bike storage facilities with good showers. We believe we are setting a new working paradigm for tomorrow’s corporations.”
UK EdTech sector
The UK EdTech has received more VC and angel funding (£178m) than any other European country.
That’s according to Benjamin Vedrenne-Cloquet, co-founder of London EdTech Week and partner at IBIS Capital.
According to the findings, the UK EdTech sector is one of the fastest growing verticals within the country’s technology sector.
The research shows that there are 1200 educational technology companies in the UK – approximately a quarter of the total number in Europe.
Additionally, IBIS Capital found that 184 institutional investors (funds, family offices) and 1,800 high net worth individuals with more than £20m to invest, based in the UK, were actively seeking investment opportunities in the EdTech sector.
Vedrenne-Cloquet said: “There are enormous opportunities for the UK in the EdTech sector. London is home to some of the start-ups with the most potential for global expansion and also home of many heritage brands that are early adopters of this technology.
“Edtech and digital delivery are true opportunities for these heritage UK education brands to shine globally. The UK’s education exports industry is worth £17.5bn to the UK economy, and the UK is the 2nd largest destination for international students.”
Consumer trust in robots
A fifth of consumers would trust legal advice from robotic services.
Research unveiled by CenturyLink EMEA found that some 20% of those surveyed would either definitely, or possibly, trust an automated, robotic service to provide advice on a legal case.
More than 1,200 consumers were surveyed and the findings show that those in London would be most comfortable taking automated legal advice (32%), followed by individuals in the South East (22%) and Scotland (22%).
Almost a fifth (19%) of people polled said they would trust a robot to manage and speed up the process of their case. Speed was of particular importance to the 16 to 34 (29%) demographic, while only 16% of 45+ year olds seemed concerned about how fast the service was.
Some 15% said they would trust an automated service to send and manage relevant documents for their case.
The survey also found that 14% would trust automated services to advise them on which law firm would be best for their case. However, the research also revealed that only one in 20 (6%) would take actionable advice from a robot.
Steve Harrison, regional sales director of legal services at CenturyLink EMEA, said: “When it comes to the use of robots in the legal sector, consumers have been loud and clear.
“While there is room for the use of AI and chatbot-led practices, human input should still lead the way. However, the legal sector still has much work to do to improve the overall customer experience, shaking up traditional paper-reliant working models and helping ease workloads, “ he added.
Additionally there appears to be a perception problem among young girls who are seemingly avoiding the new GCSE.
In 2016 just 20% of those taking a Computing exam at GCSE level were female, whereas they make up 41% of those taking an ICT GCSE.
IT’s contribution to the economy
IT contributed nearly £55bn to the UK economy last year, according to GVA figures.
The sector’s contribution has quadrupled since 1990 and IT now makes up 4% of the UK service economy and 3% of the whole economy.
The UK is a net exporter of computer services. According to the ONS, the UK exported £2.8bn more than it imported in 2015. In fact, exports of computer services were 74% higher in 2015 than 2005.
In terms of jobs, the data suggests that the ICT and telecommunications market has been buoyant for some years and continues to be so.
Since computing was first introduced as a GCSE topic in schools five years ago, there has been a 19% increase in people in employment in the industry.
There were 950,000 professionals employed in ICT and telecommunications in the UK in 2016, constituting 3% of the working population (31,661, 000). There was a 82% to 18% male to female split.
Innovation from within
Organisations are actively looking to create new positions to ease their digitalisation efforts within the finance function over the next 12 months, according to Robert Half’s report ‘Digital transformation and the future of hiring‘.
The majority of UK CFOs (68%) have revealed that finance automation will drive recruitment as a significant shift in skills is required.
Overall, eight in 10 (81%) CFOs are planning to recruit to fill the prospective skills gap in digital transformation projects.
Approximately a third (31%) of CFOs are adding new positions to implement digitisation efforts, and half (50%) are planning to fill any vacant positions over the coming year.
“Digitalisation requires strategic-level thinking and while organisations look towards creating more expansive roles they must also address growing demands in the workplace,” explained Matt Weston, director at Robert Half UK.
“As businesses need to act quickly to respond to new opportunities, adopting a flexible recruitment strategy allows for the augmentation of existing employees with specialist interim professionals with the right skills at the right time.”