UK tech startup confidence holds steady

Confidence levels among UK tech startups have risen slightly over the past three months despite election disruption and the looming Brexit deadline, Studio Graphene’s latest Tech Tracker survey reveals.

Studio Graphene has published the results of its Q4 2019 Tech Tracker survey. More than 100 C-level personnel within UK tech startups were quizzed about their outlook for the year ahead, finding:

  • 74 per cent of UK tech startups are confident their turnover will grow over the coming 12 months, up a per cent from three months ago.
  • 77 percent intend to hire more staff in the next year – a fall of two percent
  • 67 percent are planning to raise investment (up a percent)
  • Hiring the right talent remains the biggest challenge facing tech startups – 73 percent cited this as an issue, which is up from 66 percent in Q3 2019 and 60 percent in Q1
  • 69 percent are worried Brexit will make it harder for them to hire the tech talent they need to grow.

The majority of entrepreneurs (69 percent) said they are worried Brexit will make it harder for them to hire the tech talent they need to grow. The same number would support Boris Johnson’s proposed introduction of a points-based immigration system if it ensured more skilled tech workers could enter the UK.

Ritam Gandhi, founder and director of Studio Graphene, said: “This is the fourth time we have run the Tech Tracker survey and it’s encouraging to see how the confidence levels of startups have remained resolutely high throughout the past 12 months, despite the numerous challenges.

“Clearly, though, access to skilled tech talent is a major concern– the vast majority intend to hire more people in 2020, but they also foresee this being a potential barrier to growth. The new Conservative majority government must work together with the tech industry to address this issue and calm startups’ fears around Brexit.

He said that it was not just about ensuring skilled tech workers can still enter the UK after Brexit. The government must invest in the country’s youth so that people are leaving schools, colleges and universities with the skills required to fill positions.

“Similarly, apprenticeships and internships are important in training up young professionals – such things ought to be incentivised and strongly encouraged”, he added.