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Tech Sector in Wales Shows Resilience in 2020

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Tech companies in Wales raised a collective £71m in funding in 2020, as the sector demonstrated its resilience in the face of the coronavirus pandemic according to new data by Tech Nation, the growth platform for tech companies and leaders, and job search engine Adzuna. 

  • Welsh tech companies raised a collective £71m in 2020 as the industry looks to recover from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic
  • There are 1,426 open tech roles in Wales, with 317 in the capital city of Cardiff
  • Welsh IT workers earn on average £42,179, over £10,000 more than the average advertised salary across the country of £31,984
  • New figures on the Welsh tech sector come ahead of a roundtable event with the Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation to discuss tech jobs and opportunities in the region

Wales may be known for its roots in steel and mining, but the country’s tech companies are growing rapidly and creating a new source of jobs in the digital economy. According to data by Adzuna, there are currently 1,426 IT-related job vacancies in Wales, 317 of which are in Cardiff. While 2020’s investment figure was lower than the record sum raised in 2019, when tech companies raised £151m, the Welsh tech sector is still growing and providing well remunerated work.

In the capital city, tech is the fastest-growing industry when it comes to job openings, with over 10% of all open job roles in tech. Healthcare & Nursing and Accounting & Finance come second and third to tech with 238 and 235 open roles respectively.

The average advertised IT-related salary in Wales is £42,179, over £10,000 more than the overall average advertised salary for the country at £31,984, while specialised workers can earn a lot more. The highest average tech salary in Wales is for a solutions architect, which can command a salary of £60,450. Solutions architects are typically responsible for the design of applications within an organisation, focusing on the technical decisions being made and how it impacts how the business functions. There are currently 33 open solutions architect vacancies across the country.

The figures on the growth of Wales’ tech industry are published as the Government’s Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation prepare to host a digital roundtable on 26 January 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 on jobs.

Cardiff is central to the Wales tech scene, with startups and scaleups in the city enjoying access to the relatively low costs of establishing businesses, high calibre graduates from universities such as Cardiff and Swansea, and the growing startup scene. Cardiff Start has been critical to developing the city’s tech industry, and local seed investors like Smart Anchor Ventures are providing funding to early-stage companies. Though Wales is yet to produce its first unicorn, a private tech company valued at $1 billion or more, Cardiff-based Amplyfi which uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to transform business intelligence, and Flyform, a sales and service partner of the ServiceNow B2B cloud platform, are both on track to unicorn status.

Having access to skilled talent is important for companies of all sizes and maturity to grow. Startups and scaleups in Cardiff are competing with the likes of insurance provider Admiral and professional services giant Deloitte for the right talent to take their business to the next level. Across the wider Welsh tech scene, information advisory firm RELX Group and Premier IT are amongst the top hiring companies for IT roles.

This week’s virtual lunchtime discussion is one in a series of roundtables taking part with tech executives, investors and entrepreneurs across the country. Local companies, investors, university representatives and other ecosystem participants will be brought together to share their views on the challenges posed by the pandemic and the longer-term difficulties of providing the tech sector with people with the right skills. The learnings will be fed back to the DCMS (Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport).

Minister for Digital Caroline Dinenage said:

“These new figures show the resilience of the Welsh tech sector which continues to attract investment and create well-paid, high-skilled jobs. This government is committed to spreading opportunities across the UK and I look forward to working with tech entrepreneurs in Wales to see how we can support its scene to expand and thrive.”

Secretary of State for Wales Simon Hart said:

“The digital economy is an exciting and growing industry and will be vitally important as we build back stronger following the pandemic. The tech sector is responding well to the current challenges and is well-placed to grow and prosper in Wales in the coming years.”

Dr George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation said:

“The Welsh tech industry is distributed in deep pockets of expertise and growth compared to other regional hubs, but these figures demonstrate that with the right investment and support new startups can take off and exciting jobs can be created right across the nation. It’ll be interesting to hear from local entrepreneurs on how they plan to grow in 2021 at this regional roundtable.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder at Adzuna said:

“With one in 10 open jobs in Cardiff in the tech industry, the Welsh tech scene is starting to open up again after the challenges of the past year. With established companies and startups vying for skilled talent in order to take their business to the next level, relying on graduates alone won’t be enough to grow.”

Chris Ganje, co-founder and CEO, Amplyfi said:

“Amplyfi’s Insight Automation Platform is growing exceptionally fast, with new organisations onboarding every week. We can't fuel this growth without access to exceptional talent, infrastructure and capital. Cardiff combines all three of these with an amazing quality of life, allowing us to retain the brightest people while exponentially scaling our revenue and capabilities. We are incredibly fortunate to be part of such a vibrant technology ecosystem.”

Eduard Panteleev, co-founder and CEO, ANNA said:

“ANNA chose Cardiff mainly because we knew it was important to have our customer experience centre based in the UK. Cardiff fulfilled our needs because it is relatively easy to hire people with customer service qualifications and to scale operations. It’s relatively inexpensive to hire people and the city is close enough to commute to from London, if necessary. This year we plan to double our monthly growth in the UK, upgrade our banking functionality considerably, roll out VAT and income tax functionality and expand into a new market.”