Edinburgh set for tech jobs boom as city outpaces UK gains

Edinburgh's tech sector has thousands of new jobs in the pipeline, according to the Knight Frank report. Picture: Contributed
Edinburgh's tech sector has thousands of new jobs in the pipeline, according to the Knight Frank report. Picture: Contributed
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Growth in jobs across Edinburgh’s fast-growing technology sector will outstrip that seen across the wider UK over the decade ahead, according to a new report.

The city, which has already seen a dramatic rise in technology employment in recent years, is expected to see the number of jobs in the technology, media, and telecommunications sectors jump by 21 per cent by 2030, a study by Knight Frank has found.

'The tech sector has been growing exponentially in Edinburgh': Simon Capaldi, office agency partner at Knight Frank in Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed

'The tech sector has been growing exponentially in Edinburgh': Simon Capaldi, office agency partner at Knight Frank in Edinburgh. Picture: Contributed

That compares to the average growth expected in technology jobs across UK cities of 16 per cent.

A report earlier this year from Tech Nation found that Edinburgh was significantly outperforming the UK on job creation in the digital technology sector.

The sector in the Scottish capital employs almost 60,000 people and saw the number of jobs increase by more than three times the UK average between 2014 and 2017.

Knight Frank’s analysis also found that tech companies accounted for more than a third (34 per cent) of office take-up in the Scottish capital in the first three quarters of 2019, outperforming the UK cities average of 23 per cent, and the 21 per cent in London.

'The ideal base'

The report shows Edinburgh has the highest retention rate for graduates compared to other major UK cities outside of London at 47 per cent.

With a graduate population of nearly 50,000 and 57 per cent of workers considered skilled, Knight Frank said that Edinburgh was proving the ideal base for growing technology companies.

READ MORE: Edinburgh software company founder wins CEO title at Scottish technology awards

Simon Capaldi, office agency partner at Knight Frank in Edinburgh, said: “The tech sector has been growing exponentially in Edinburgh, creating a vibrant ecosystem of businesses.

Between the long-established CodeBase, the recent arrival of WeWork, and some of the best academic institutions in the UK, we have a solid base on which companies can set up and grow.

“That, of course, has consequences for landlords in the city. These types of occupiers are looking for something different: not only do they want space that reflects their brand identity, they also require more flexible lease terms that allow them to grow – or even contract – through the process of becoming established.”

Capaldi said the property sector will need to adapt to the changing demands of the market. “We expect to see more co-working space coming into the city, which remains relatively undersupplied compared to other major cities in the UK,” he predicted.

The latest figures come on the back of a separate report last week that highlighted how the technology sector in Edinburgh is now worth more than £1 billion to the Scottish economy.

However, that report from business advisory firm BDO also highlighted that Scotland is home to some of the poorest performing areas in the UK in terms of the technology sector.

The Shetland Islands ranked 177th out of 178 areas in the UK with a contribution of just £6 million from the sector in 2017.