The digital sector represents an integral part of the United Kingdom’s (UK) economy. The accelerated technology adoption process that began with the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is expected to uplift the country’s gross domestic product (GDP) in the following years. For instance, the forecast for 2025 anticipates UK’s GDP to increase by 2.8 percent due to tech investments. When it comes to the digital sector’s market value, one of the most relevant segments is IT, software, and computer services, valued at over 42 billion British pounds in 2021, whereas the software publishing sector was valued at only 1.46 billion British pounds. However, the software spending in the UK is forecast to reach nearly five billion British pounds by 2024.
Businesses and employment
The digital sector is also an essential source of jobs in the UK. Technology companies trading on the London Stock Exchange, such as IBM Corporation and many other digital businesses – from early-stage startups to larger firms – operate across the entire country. This provided employment for over 1.78 million people within the digital economy sector as of 2021, increasing by nearly one million employees compared to the same period in 2020. The largest segment of the digital sector in the UK in terms of economic contribution – computer programming, consultancy, and related activities – was home to nearly 152 thousand businesses in 2021. However, the digital segment with the highest employment in the UK was computer consultancy activities, with 483 thousand people as of 2021.
Currently, digital skills have developed to become more of a requirement, giving individuals who possess the necessary digital skills the ability to demand considerably higher salaries. Within the UK’s digital sector, median earnings for people employed in the information service activities sector were valued at nearly 41 thousand British pounds. The highest median salaries were recorded in the computer programming, consultancy, and related activities sub-sector.
It comes as no surprise that the highest salaries in the country were paid in London. The capital has a thriving tech community and is considered the digital capital of Europe. In December 2016, London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan, launched the Digital Talent Program to provide training opportunities for young people and support women and ethnic minority groups to gain the necessary skills for finding a job in London’s digital, tech, and creative sectors. The program consisted of several business and college partnerships and invested seven million British pounds in improving young Londoners' teaching and learning.
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In the following 5 chapters, you will quickly find the 28 most important statistics relating to "Digital economy in the UK".