There has been quite a bit in the press about the rate of growth of the Scottish Digital Economy. Recent insights from Tech City UK and Nockolds Solicitors has identified the Scottish digital economy as the fastest growing outside London. This is great news. However, taking a look at the Tech Nation 2017 Digital tech economy map – it looks like Scotland stops at Dundee. Clearly Tech City, who prepare the report, do have to be able to cluster technology centres geographically, but it is a pity that Scotland is not better represented in the report.
Company Connecting has researched the majority of IT companies registered in Scotland. We have maps for Scotland, by Council and by city as well as infographics on skills and company size. Glasgow and Edinburgh are by far the largest centres of IT with 518 and 516 IT companies respectively. Next up is Aberdeen with 195 IT companies, and Dundee is in fourth place with 75 companies. Over the past year we have published infographics on all of the areas in Scotland. There are significant differences in the skills across the various areas.
Edinburgh has the most IT companies working in the financial sector and the number of companies working in the Games sector is similar to Dundee. Glasgow has a similar number of IT companies to Edinburgh and the sectors it dominates are Healthcare and the Public Sector. There is an extremely strong focus on the Education sector in both Edinburgh and Glasgow.
However there is a vibrant digital economy outwith the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and Dundee. Aberdeen has a relatively high number of IT companies in relation to the overall population of the area. A significant number of the companies work in the Oil & Gas, engineering, energy and marine sectors. There is a strong showing for systems related to process control. This has important links to sensors and therefore IoT technologies long used in Oil & Gas.
Inverness and the Highland area has and interesting mix of companies and skills. Many for the companies are relatively small but nevertheless have a broad spectrum of skills such as augmented and virtual reality, games, app development etc.
We have developed an innovation index for skills. In the current beta version it looks like the Borders and the South of Scotland are punching well above their weight in innovative technologies and sector such as Fintech.
So the Scottish Digital Economy does not stop at Dundee. There are more than 2,500 IT companies in Scotland, of which 1,100 are in Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee. It’s important that the diversity and geographical spread of IT companies across Scotland is recognized, and that steps are taken to inform others of the skills which can be tapped into in the North of the country.