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Silicon Valley Bank survey highlights optimism among UK tech firms

Also raises talent shortage concerns

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The vast majority of UK tech companies are more optimistic than they have been in five years, according to a report out today from Silicon Valley Bank.

The bank’s Innovation Outlook report, designed to gage the perception of the global innovation sector, was taken by over 1,200 executives from software, hardware, cleantech and healthcare companies in start-up and growth stages of business in the US, the UK and other global innovation hubs. 

It found business optimism to be highest in the UK with 84 percent of executives in the innovation sector planning to grow their workforce this year, compared to 80 percent in Europe and 76 percent in North America.

Of the UK respondents, 79 percent said they believe business conditions will be better this year than last, which is the highest in five years. 

However, the study also revealed that UK businesses are struggling to obtain capital and find highly-skilled staff, with 94 percent saying it is extremely or somewhat challenging to find the right talent they need to grow.

Greg Becker, president and CEO of Silicon Valley Bank, said: “Innovation is happening globally, and it is driving a rapid pace of new company formation, an international exchange of ideas and alternative sources of capital.

“We believe that the regions that build talent pools of motivated workers with relevant skills through education and appropriate policies have the chance to become destinations of choice for rapidly growing companies and high-quality, well-paying jobs.”

The shortage of talented tech workers in London was acknowledged as the biggest barrier to the growth of the capital's technology sector by many of those in the Tech London Advocates lobbying group last week.

The group, made up of more than 500 advocates working in government, technology and business, believes that UK immigration laws should be relaxed in order to help overcome the issue. 

Gerald Brady, head of relationship banking at Silicon Valley Bank UK previously told Techworld that the San Francisco Bay area is the world capital of innovation, largely because it has a hyperconcentration of talented IT professionals. 

"The biggest difference [between London and San Francisco] isn’t about lawyers, capital, universities or the ecosystem," he said. "It’s cultural attitude to risk."

The Innovation Outlook survey, now in its fifth year, asked executives about their business’ health, the market, industry and public policy affecting their business. 

Silicon Valley Bank is a financial partner to technology, life science and cleantech companies and their investors worldwide.



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