The number of advertised roles in the UK tech sector has jumped by 36% in the last two months, according to new data from Tech Nation, in a further sign that startups and technology companies are rebounding strongly from the worst days of the coronavirus panic.
When coronavirus struck in February startups across Europe were firing and furloughing employees in droves, hiring was largely frozen and fundraising for many technology companies was rendered impossible.
But fast forward six months and — while much of the economy remains in the doldrums — the landscape for tech is much rosier. The summer has been busy for startup fundraising across Europe as many of the worst predictions about the crisis have not come true.
In the US, investors are so bullish on tech that the Nasdaq Composite Index of listed stocks has nearly doubled from its March lows.
In the UK, data released on Tuesday by Tech Nation shows that advertised roles in the tech sector have grown 36% since June. Previously, tech vacancies had fallen in line with all other sectors after the country’s lockdown began.
“Tech companies have, in the last few weeks, found the confidence to begin hiring again,” Gerard Grech, the chief executive of Tech Nation. “It looks likely that the tech sector will continue to be one of the best sources of new jobs this year and can provide the jobs of the future.”
In other parts of Europe, there is no hard data about a rebound in hiring. But anecdotal evidence suggests that the enormous efforts that governments across the continent have made to protect their startup sectors has paid off.
Nicolas Brien, the chief executive of France Digitale, an industry group representing 1,800 startups, recently said the country should be focusing on its tech sector even more in the coming months to keep the rebound going. “At a time when mass unemployment is looming over us following lockdown, we will need to create new jobs and that will be done mainly in the digital world,” Brien told Europe 1.
Sigrid Magnusson Karlsson is the founder of Exectech recruitment in Sweden, told Sifted: “When the virus came it was slow for approximately three weeks… and then it picked up again in the tech industry.” In some tech roles, there are very few applicants and startups have actually struggled to recruit, she added.
Data from Dealroom shows that funding investments into tech startups across Europe dipped 21% across the first six months of 2020 compared to last year. France and the UK were the countries least impacted. Investment in France dipped only 5% and 10% in the UK. But overall this was far less bad than many feared.
The UK government is keen to position the tech industry as key to economic recovery.
“Tech can power our recovery, increase our productivity and create jobs, region by region, and in all parts of our economy,” said Oliver Dowden, the UK’s digital secretary. “We will continue to support it and help it to drive a new era of growth from Land’s End to John O’Groats and beyond.”
The UK is home to more tech unicorns than any other country in Europe, and more than France, Germany and the Netherlands combined. Two new companies became unicorns during lockdown itself — Gymshark and Cazoo — taking the total in the country up to eighty-two.