A survey of technology companies by Tech South West has revealed high levels of optimism for growth across the region.
Research carried out between December 2016 and January 2017 found that 80 per cent of technology firms in the region believe 2017 will be a better year, with greater growth than 2016, and 72 per cent of respondees expect recruitment of new employees in 2017 to outstrip last year. Just 6 per cent anticipate a potential reduction of their workforce.
Concern over the availability of funding has remained the same as 2016, with 67 per cent expressing the same anxiety and 13 per cent more concerned.
There are longer-term concerns about Brexit, with 35 per cent admitting that the vote to leave the European Union and subsequent economic and political uncertainty has already had a negative impact on their business, but 6 per cent say they have benefited from the decision, and 59 per cent have seen no difference to their business.
Members were also asked to choose their top tech trends for 2017. Joint top were the Internet of Things and virtual and augmented reality, followed by cloud services, then cyber security and artificial intelligence.
Philip Letts, Tech South West chairman and CEO of blur Group, said: “It’s clear that there is genuine and sustainable growth across the tech sector in the South West combined with high levels of optimism that look set to continue.
“Like all businesses, there are of course concerns about Brexit and what it will mean specifically for the technology sector. Many of our members are trading internationally, and rely on brilliant talent wherever that may be. The Government’s recent publication of its Industrial Strategy was encouraging, putting a strong emphasis on technology and the regions. But there is a long way to go before we can judge the success of that. Tech South West will continue to push for a fair Brexit that ensures our region’s technology companies, vital to the overall economy of the region, can thrive.”
Technology is the region’s fastest growing sector, worth £2.8bn in 2015 and expected to be worth £4.2bn in 2020. There are already more than 10,900 technology companies in the South West employing over 126,000 people.
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