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Welcome to your round up of some of the past week’s most interesting surveys, statistics and reports relevant to those involved in the UK tech industry.

This week, we have statistics relating to digital risk, tech in Manchester, early-stage investments, safer banking, tech salaries, the software industry and innovation spending.

Digital risk

Research by RiskIQ has revealed 82% of C-suite and senior managers in large UK organisations are worried about the vulnerability of their digital assets.

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However, 57% said they don’t have a digital brand protection programme or team in place, and 34% are without a dedicated cyber threat management programme.

Some 85% of those surveyed claimed cybersecurity and brand protection concerns are affecting the rollout of new digital initiatives. Respondents also identified key cybersecurity concerns as brand and reputational damage (51%), exposing customer data (58%) and phishing and malware attacks (40%).

Promisingly though, 85% added that digital engagement is playing a more significant role in their organisation than 5 years ago.

Ben Harknett, vice president EMEA at RiskIQ, commented: “Our research shows that while organisations are advancing their use of digital channels, security is once again playing catch up.

“This lag results in increased digital risk which could impact the success of those channels. Digital Risk Monitoring and External Threat Management needs to be considered by all organisations in the defence of their digital channels,” he concluded.

Manchester

According to a report by Manchester Digital, 77% of professionals working in Manchester’s digital sector view the city as a ‘digital hub’.

The “#RelocateMCR” report also revealed 63% of respondents enjoy the range of networking events on offer in Manchester, and 4 in 5 said they’d recommend the city to their friends.

Some 80% of professionals have relocated to Manchester from elsewhere, and, of these, 1 in 5 have moved from London. 80% also claim they intend to stay in Manchester in the mid-term.

Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital, commented on the findings: “We found that a huge number of people who work in the digital and technology industries have chosen to relocate to the city. And the pull isn’t just across the UK, we are attracting talent from Europe too.

“The fact that most people would recommend working here to a friend, and so many people believe it’s a brilliant place to launch a startup, gives us hope that more and more skilled professionals will move here and work with us to continue to grow the region’s booming digital and tech sector.

“Ultimately, we want this report to encourage those people that might be considering a move, to relocate to Manchester and reap not just the professional benefits, but also the personal ones that this thriving city has to offer,” she concluded.

For more on Manchester’s tech scene, head over to our Manchester Documentary.

Investment

SyndicateRoom’s “2017 Rise of the Growth Hunters” study found 39% of individual investors are more willing to take risks than they were a year ago. 18% said they are keen to take fewer risks.

Additionally, around two thirds of investors see the possibility of higher returns as an incentive to invest in early-stage equities. The report also discovered investment in early-stage companies has seen a growth rate in the past five years of over six times faster than that of the FTSE all-share index.

However, 48% of retail investors are not investing in early-stage businesses because of a lack of knowledge about the company. Only 9% of individual investors said there are no barriers to them investing in early-stage firms.

The study also predicted 1 in 30 early-stage businesses are likely to close next year. Of almost 600 early-stage businesses analysed since 2011, 90 businesses (15%) had their values written down to zero by 2016.

Gonçalo de Vasconcelos, CEO at SyndicateRoom, commented: “In a low-yield environment, compounded by recent macro-uncertainty caused by Brexit and the US election, reliable information on high-growth investment is more important than ever.

“Our research discovered a fast-emerging part of the UK’s investment market that is hunting for greater growth and willing to accept a higher risk to achieve that investment return.”

Safer banking

New research by uSwitch has revealed only 44% of consumers believe their bank is developing products that meet their needs.

Some 56% of account holders say banks introduce new technology to cut costs, and 55% would rather their bank focused on improving core services such as security and fraud deterrents.

While ‘audio fingerprinting’ was voted the most useful future banking feature, only 15% of consumers like the idea of ‘selfie pay’.

Tashema Jackson, money expert at uSwitch, commented: “Banks have to ensure they are prioritising technology that truly makes a difference to customers’ experience. Paying with a selfie may sound like a great idea, but if key services like access to online banking continuously fail, then the bank’s more ambitious work will go unnoticed.

“For challenger banks, the news is more concerning. The new players in the market are already struggling to get customers to switch, but now also need to show that they are truly best placed to deliver the new innovations that people want.”

Tech salaries

Dice’s tech index, which is compiled by data from from IT Jobs Watch, has revealed tech salaries are rising, with the ten most popular permanent tech job titles showing an average 5% year-on-year increase.

Programme managers command the highest average pay, with permanent roles paying £78,847 (6% up year-on-year), and contractor day rates are now at £600 (up 1.5% year-on-year).

Permanent security analysts and senior java developers had the highest year-on-year increase, with both seeing an 11% rise in annual pay.

Geographically, London had a total of 58,376 tech roles advertised, representing 43% of all technology jobs advertised in the UK. The South East ranked second, with 23,839 jobs, and the North East reported a 15% year-on-year increase in the number of contractor roles advertised.

Jamie Bowler, marketing director at Dice, commented: “Even in these largely uncertain economic times, the tech industry still appears to be robust in the face of many wider challenges.

“With the government just last week announcing plans to invest £1.9bn in the UK’s cybersecurity strategy, coupled with high-profile cases of hacking such as the Tesco Bank outage this week – it is perhaps unsurprising that there is a large boost of demand for cybersecurity skills since last year.

“There has however been a noticeable increase in the number of contracts roles in comparison to the rise in the number of permanent positions available, particularly when it comes to the most in-demand skills.  If budgets are likely to be tighter going into Q1, it’s only natural that recruiters will take a ‘wait and see’ approach to their hiring plans,” he concluded.

Software

The BSA has released a report showing the software industry contributes £124.8bn a year to the UK economy, supporting 2.6 million jobs.

Additionally, the report found the software industry contributes 9.7% of private domestic R&D, as software companies invest strongly in the area – £1.76bn in 2013.

Victoria Espinel, CEO of the BSA, commented: “Unlike traditional industry sectors, software doesn’t need an external catalyst for change – it is the catalyst.

“Software will continue to revolutionise how we work, communicate, plan, and create in ways that we can only now begin to fathom. Software-driven data innovation and data analytics are leading to benefits throughout broad sectors of the EU economy.

“Every aspect of every business and every government department depends on software to become more inventive, more creative, more competitive, and more efficient,” she concluded.

Innovation

A CBI survey of over 800 businesses indicated 70% of respondents plan to increase or maintain their investments in innovation following Brexit. Only 7% plan to reduce their spending.

The “Innovation Survey 2016” also found that although businesses invested almost £21bn in innovation, they ranked the UK 10th in world for innovation. Despite some firms viewing the UK as top in areas such as scientific research (35%) and tax incentives to support investment (30%), the UK lags behind in areas such as partnering with external companies (21%) and grant funding (14%).

Firms believe access to skills (66%), tariff-free access for goods (41%) and keeping common regulatory standards (38%) will be needed following the EU referendum result.

Carolyn Fairbairn, CBI Director-General, commented: “The UK will need to work hard to become the front-runner in global innovation, creating a pioneering economic role for itself in the world that drives prosperity in every corner of the UK.

“Innovation is the nucleus of future economic and social development, so it’s encouraging that seven out of ten firms will keep up – or even raise – their spending on new technologies and work practices to grow their business.

“As we prepare to depart the EU, this shows that firms are rolling up their sleeves and looking to make the best of Brexit,” she concluded.

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