Tech Nation 2017 shows continued growth of Sunderland’s tech cluster

City has the highest digital tech business birth rate in the UK


Tech City UK, the UK Government backed organisation tasked with accelerating the growth of digital businesses today launched the Tech Nation 2017 report, the most comprehensive analysis of the UK’s Digital Tech economy.

Tech Nation 2017 shows that the UK digital tech sector is one of the country’s economic success stories, growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy and creating and additional 85,000 highly skilled workers and well-paid jobs in the past year.

The report highlights the growth of the sector in Sunderland, with the turnover of digital tech businesses in Sunderland growing by 101% between 2011 and 2015.

Key findings for Sunderland:

·         5,742 Tech jobs

·         Digital GVA £148 million

·         Sunderland has the highest digital tech business birth rate in the UK, with a 19.3% increase and an overall 18% increase in number of digital tech businesses (2011 – 15)

·         These businesses recorded a 101% increase in digital turnover growth (2011-15) with high levels of optimism amongst Sunderland digital tech workers- 81% rate as good.

·         63% rate quality of life as good, and with a salary to house price ratio scoring as one of the best in the country.

·         91% of respondents stated the city’s digital infrastructure was good, whilst availability of affordable property also scored highly.

Overall, the report shows demonstrates that the digital technology sector is generating significant economic growth nationwide, turning over an estimated £170 billion in 2015 and growing at twice the rate of the rest of the economy.

The report also found that the sector is generating significant employment opportunities, with an additional 85,000 jobs nationwide over the past year and a 13% increase in advertised salaries of digital tech posts.

However, over half of all respondents reported that the technical skills shortage was a major challenge, with employers stating that finding employees with the right skills was a barrier to growth.

David Dunn, CEO, Sunderland Software City, the organisation enabling the growth of the tech sector in the North East of England, said: “Tech Nation 2017 confirms that Sunderland and the wider North East is one of the best places in the UK to start and grow a digital tech business, with high levels of optimism driven by wide availability of agile business support tailored to the needs of industry, world-class digital infrastructure and affordable property.

“The North East is fast becoming the UK’s home of digitally-driven innovation and whilst these findings demonstrate great momentum we must focus on working collaboratively with stakeholders to ensure that the talent pipeline can support this impressive growth.”

Tech Nation 2017 was compiled from more than 2,700 survey responses from those working in the digital technology sector, an additional 1,000 data points, from details provided by 220 nationwide community partners, 30 UK tech clusters and case studies of 61 company founders, making this the most comprehensive study to date on the UK’s tech ecosystem.


The report was launched at an event in London this morning (Wed 22 March) with the Tech Nation roadshow vising The Core in Newcastle on Friday 24 March.

Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech CIty UK said: “Tech Nation 2017 shows how rapidly the UK’s tech innovation and productivity are gathering momentum.

“There are now significant tech hubs all over the UK, attracting both international investment and overseas talent.

“We need to maintain access to skilled workers while doubling down on home grown tech talent. This report is all about working together on a common vision: the UK as a global leader in tech.”

To read the full report visit


About Sunderland Software City

Sunderland Software City is enabling the growth of the technology sector in the North East of England; providing support and creating opportunities for aspiring and established software businesses. We aim to strengthen the region’s economy by helping individual companies to grow, create jobs and attract investment and through collaboration with partners across the UK, we champion North East tech.

Sunderland Software City is funded from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The Department for Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, European Regional Development Fund funds help local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information, visit