What does the future for the tech sector in the West Midlands?

The West Midlands has been named the country’s fastest-growing tech sector and the region’s thriving digital industries are expected to create thousands of new jobs by the end of 2025.

According to a new government report released for Birmingham Tech Week, the region has been recognised as a top performer for digital growth and is predicted to create an additional 52,000 roles in the sector over the next four years – a bumper increase of 55 per cent since 2019.

Tech growth in the region grew by an average of 7.6 per cent a year between 2014 and 2019, the fastest region in the UK. Going forward it is expected to generate at least £2.7 billion for the local economy by 2025.

It comes as new figures compiled by job search engine Adzuna and investment analysts Dealroom for the UK’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation show tech companies in the West Midlands are on track to raise more venture capital investment in 2021 than they did a year earlier, and tech job vacancies advertised in the region have almost doubled since December 2020.

Tech companies in the West Midlands have raised £454 million in venture capital funding already this year, compared to £358 million last year, while tech vacancies have increased from 5,099 in December 2020 to 9,287 in October 2021.

Digital Minister Chris Philp said: “As Birmingham Tech Week kicks off it’s great to see the digital sector in the West Midlands entering a golden era. There are high-quality and well-paid job opportunities for those who want to pursue a career in tech and the region is fast-becoming a powerhouse of digital talent. We are determined to level up the country and we are working around the clock to back digital businesses with pro-innovation policies to boost digital skills and create jobs so everyone can benefit from this dynamic sector.”

The growth figures, published as part of the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) Assessing the UK’s regional digital ecosystems report, highlight the region’s flourishing digital sector as Birmingham’s annual celebration of digital, technology and innovation kicks off.

Industry reaction

Dr George Windsor, Head of Data and Insights at Tech Nation, said: “With 1 in 8 job opportunities now in the digital sector, it’s clear that strong employer demand is prompting astonishing growth in tech roles across regions and UK nations. Following the launch of the government’s UK Innovation Strategy this summer, the rapid growth of the West Midlands’ tech sector is testament to the quality of digital talent, innovation policies and opportunity in this thriving region of the UK. We at Tech Nation have been delighted to welcome tech scaleups from the West Midlands into our Applied AI, Libra, Upscale and Fintech cohorts over the past month – such as Birmingham-based 3D printed vitamin healthtech Nourished and AI driverless vehicle company Conigital – as they work across industries to shape the UK – and the world – for the better.”

Kim Leary, Birmingham Tech Week Chair, said: The tech sector in our region is booming. We have a huge number of successful start-up and scaling businesses and a growing ecosystem powering FinTech to EdTech. Everyone has been working hard to shine a spotlight on the West Midlands so there’s a real sense of celebration and collaboration across the City. For me, this is particularly exciting to see and I’m proud that Birmingham Tech Week is able to play a vital role in this.”