John Burn-Murdoch Britain’s technology sector hotspots

Wokingham is the top area in Great Britain for technology jobs, with the silicon sector accounting for more than five times as large a share of its labour market than the national average.

According to a report compiled by data firm Markit for KPMG, the south east of England is host to almost two in every five local authorities with technology employment location quotients (LQs) greater than 1.0, indicating that tech jobs comprise a larger proportion of the local job market than the equivalent figure across England, Wales and Scotland.

Sources: Markit Economics for KPMG, using ONS data

The south east beats even London for the proportion of its districts with LQs higher than 1.0, and accounts for every one of the top ten local authorities by this measure. Wokingham, in Berkshire, scores 5.3, while another eight areas of the South East have tech sectors over three times larger than the national average in relative terms.

Old Street Roundabout and the surrounding area – dubbed ‘Tech City’ – doesn’t score as highly as some might expect, but there may be a number of reasons for this, the report’s authors point out.

First, it straddles the London boroughs of Islington and Hackney, dispersing any localised effects across two local authorities. Second, the analysis was based on 2011 data from the Office for National Statistics covering registered companies only, so may have missed some of the tech start-ups that were emerging around this time. Third, LQs are based on numbers of employees, not numbers of enterprises, so groups of large out-of-town headquarters along motorway corridors will score higher than urban clusters.

At a broader regional level, London and the South East are the only two areas with higher LQs than the national average, but the remaining nine regions show wide variation. The East of England scores third with 0.91, or a tech jobs market 91 per cent as large as the UK average. Scotland’s LQ is lowest at 0.4, but Yorkshire and the Humber is the only region with no individual local authority scoring 1.0 (Harrogate comes closest with 0.98).