March 1, 2017

Tech South West Survey Results Point to a Positive Outlook for South West Tech Sector

Today we can reveal the findings from the first Tech South West Survey, which point to high levels of optimism for growth across the region, amid longer-term concerns about the future impact of Brexit.

Our Survey, the first of its kind to focus specifically on the technology sector in the South West, found that 80% of technology firms believe 2017 will be a better year, with greater growth, than 2016. Interestingly, not a single business expected this year to be worse than last.

A mere 6% of responding businesses anticipated a potential reduction in their workforce this year, and 72% actually expected to recruit more new candidates in 2017 than the previous 12 months.

A Hard Brexit?

But despite the apparent optimism of businesses operating within the buoyant South West tech sector, respondents did highlight longer-term concerns about Brexit and the impact it will have on their business.

In fact, 35% admitted that Britain’s vote to leave the EU, and the subsequent socioeconomic and geopolitical uncertainty that has followed since June’s landmark vote, has already had a negative impact on their business. A further 59% have seen no difference to their business.

In contrast, 6% of businesses responding to the survey stated they have benefited from the decision to leave the EU.

Complete findings from the survey:

Business prospects better, the same or worse in 2017 compared with 2016? 80% better; 20% same; 0% worse
More, the same or less concerned about availability of funding in 2017 compared with 2016? 13% more; 67% same; 20% less concerned
Likely to recruit more, the same or fewer people in 2017 than 2016? 72% more; 22% same; 6% fewer
Brexit impact on your business so far? 6% good; 59% no difference, 35% bad

Top Tech Trends for 2017

Respondents were also asked to identify their top technology trends for this year. Perhaps not surprisingly, the Internet of Things and Virtual/Augmented Reality came out on top, followed by Cloud Services, Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence.

1st = Virtual Reality / Augmented Reality

1st = Internet of Things

3rd Cloud Services

5th = Cyber Security

5th = Artificial Intelligence

6th Big Data

7th Social Media

8th 5G

9th Video - interactive, live streaming

10th Health tech

12th = Agile working through tech

12th = Robotics

Sustainable Growth

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. The findings certainly echo what our members have been saying to me at recent events.

“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.”