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New data shows that Scotland has the highest number of verified startups outside of London and the South East.
Scottish start-ups have raised a collective £345m in venture capital funding, according to new data from industry growth platform Tech Nation and job search engine Adzuna.
Scotland has the highest number of verified startups (2,442) outside of London and the South East, while the number of venture capital rounds increased to 96 in 2020, from 87 in 2019, despite the challenges of the pandemic.
Start-ups and scale-ups raised significant rounds during the year, including biotech firm Roslin Technologies’ £50m early-stage funding in July, rocket company Skyrora’s £25.5m Series A round in January and cryptocurrency platform Zumo’s £10m Series A in November.
These tech companies need skilled staff to facilitate their growth plans, with Skyrora alone announcing it was hiring 170 staff for a new site in Fife to aid its mission of launching a rocket into space.
As of December 2020, there were 28,295 open job vacancies in Scotland, 4,414 of which are in IT-related roles.
In Edinburgh, 31% of all job roles are in the tech sector, making it the city’s fastest-growing sector.
The increased demand for skilled tech talent across the country is reflected in the high advertised salaries for open jobs.
In Edinburgh, the average advertised salary for tech jobs is £59,776 – ahead of the UK average of £53,945.
Advertised salaries are even higher for specialist workers including solutions architects – tasked with testing, integrating and programming software systems to suit a company’s needs – who can command a salary of around £69,532 – up 20.7% on 2019’s figures.
Product managers looking for a new job can expect an average advertised salary of £64,054 – an increase of nearly 30% from 2019 figures.
The figures are published as the Government’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation prepare to host a digital roundtable to discuss the challenges facing the tech sector as it works to create jobs and help the region recover from the impact of the coronavirus.
Local companies, investors, university representatives and other ecosystem participants will be brought together to collaborate on the challenges posed by the pandemic.
The learnings will be fed back to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Minister for Digital Caroline Dinenage said: “Scotland is one of the UK’s flourishing tech hubs, demonstrated by its ability to attract global companies like Amazon and Rockstar Games, as well as develop homegrown enterprises including Skyscanner and FanDuel.”
“I’m delighted to join entrepreneurs, investors and local stakeholders to celebrate the resilience of the tech sector and to find out how the UK Government can support this dynamic ecosystem in the future.”
Dr George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, said: “From its roots in the electronics industry, Scotland’s tech scene has evolved into a dynamic sector, encompassing everything from space to biotech and fintech.
“With more companies competing for skilled staff, it’s an opportune moment to meet with local entrepreneurs to hear what needs to be done to support this growing tech hub.”
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