Edinburgh - why its tech ecosystem is a great strength


June 21, 2018

JLL is immensely proud to have partnered with Tech Nation to launch its annual research report Tech Nation 2018, in Edinburgh this week.

As the 2018 Tech Nation report shows, Edinburgh is an extremely attractive city for tech firms looking to scale up and do business.

The first Tech Nation report was published in 2015 to help develop an understanding of the vibrant digital tech landscape in the UK. The report brings together an extensive analysis of official statistics, as well as a survey answered by more than 3,400 people working in the tech sector.

The new UK Government-backed report, which captures the strength, depth and breadth of digital tech activity in the UK, paints Edinburgh in an incredibly positive light.

Edinburgh, with its quality restaurants, retail and housing, is an appealing location for millennials. It has a tech sector worth £1.14bn and the city has seen tech jobs increase over three times the UK average between 2014 and 2017.

According to the Tech Nation report, 87% of Edinburgh's tech community are positive about opportunities for high growth digital companies to scale up in the city, well ahead of London (79%), Birmingham (71%) and Leeds (70%).

While all tech communities in the UK find access to finance a major challenge, Edinburgh respondents were more positive about funding than their counterparts in other tech hubs: 38% of Edinburgh techies rated positively their access to finance, compared to 31% in Cardiff and London, and just 13% in the Thames Valley region.

Edinburgh's tech credentials are well known, with Edinburgh University's School of Informatics having nurtured countless spin-out firms that have found global success. Fuelled by its four universities, the city has one of the fastest growing, most highly qualified and productive populations in the UK– fully 55% of residents are educated to degree level or higher. Indeed, two of the city's largest tech employers remain home-grown Skyscanner and FanDuel.

However, recruiting skilled workers remains a key challenge - only 27% of Edinburgh's tech community were positive on recruiting skilled workers.

Although 62% of Edinburgh's tech community are satisfied with their access to affordable workspace, one of the main challenges facing the burgeoning tech industry is finding enough space to accommodate the continued growth of the sector.

The key issue for Edinburgh is building new Grade A office stock, and refurbishing existing stock quickly enough to meet this rapid growth.

The future is certainly bright for Edinburgh as it transitions from a hub of finance, to one which also packs a mighty punch when it comes to producing some of the world's most productive and successful tech firms. What we now need to see is a greater emphasis on nurturing this incredibly talented community and building the support mechanisms for it to continue to flourish even further.

This article was written by Ben Reed, Director – Office Agency