Britain’s tech sector continues to break records as new government data shows more than 1,800 cyber security firms generated a total of £10.1 billion in revenue in the most recent financial year, a 14 per cent increase from the previous financial year.
The DCMS Annual Cyber Sector Report, which tracks the growth and performance of the UK’s cyber security industry, reveals the sector contributed around £5.3 billion to the UK economy in 2021, rising by a third on the previous year from £4 billion – the largest increase since the report began in 2018.
Employment across the industry rose by 13 per cent, with more than 6,000 new jobs created, opening up new opportunities for people up and down the UK to join the sector and share its wealth. This brings the total number of people working in cyber in the UK to 52,700.
There were 1,838 active cyber security firms in the UK in 2021. More than half are based outside of London and the South East, with cyber security showing growth in the North East and East Midlands. The report highlights this move could be a result of remote working increasing regional opportunities.
UK-registered cyber security firms attracted record levels of external investment, with more than £1 billion secured across 84 deals by companies including Bristol-based Immersive Labs, which raised £53.5 million, and London-headquartered Tessian which secured more than £52 million in funding.
Digital Secretary Nadine Dorries said: “Cyber security firms are major contributors to the UK’s incredible tech success story. Hundreds of British firms from Edinburgh to Bristol are developing and selling cutting-edge cyber tools around the world that make it safer for people to live and work online. We are investing in skills training and business initiatives to help the UK go from strength to strength as a global cyber power and open up the sector to people from all walks of life.”
Over the last decade, the UK has established itself as a leader in areas including network security, threat monitoring and professional services which has contributed to the sector’s double digit growth last year.
Almost 300 UK-headquartered cyber security firms have offices in international markets, with 56 per cent offering their products and services in the United States and 46 per cent exporting to the European Union.
The UK attracted a number of foreign companies, with US-headquartered companies representing one in ten UK-based cyber companies, highlighting the importance of US-UK collaboration in this area to support the UK’s economic growth.
The findings come as Digital Minister Julia Lopez addresses the CyberASAP demo day today. The event gives UK academics the opportunity to showcase innovative new cyber security products to potential buyers.
Vicky Brock CEO and co-founder of Vistalworks said: “Vistalworks was originally founded in response to a Scottish government innovation challenge to find innovative technology solutions to online illicit trade. As we’ve grown, working closely with our government agency and cyber security stakeholders has remained incredibly important.”
Lorna Armitage, co-founder, CAPSLOCK said: “The support of Plexal and government-funded programmes like Cyber Runway has enabled CAPSLOCK to accelerate our growth from a young startup in 2020 to the ‘most innovative cyber security SME of 2021’, as named by DCMS.”
The government’s National Cyber Strategy is supporting UK firms to grow and scale up through a number of schemes including the National Cyber Security Centre Startups and CyberFirst bursary schemes, the London Office for Rapid Cyber security Advancement, and the Cyber Runway programme which helps entrepreneurs and businesses access a range of services to turn their ideas into commercial successes.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has launched a number of skills initiatives including the Cyber Explorers youth programme and skills bootcamps. It is boosting careers in the cyber workforce by supporting new apprenticeship standards and helping to standardise the professional cyber security landscape with the new UK Cyber Security Council.