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    Eva Keogan

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    City of London: Figures show top jobs growth but tech could do better

    Recent news from the City of London Economics team reveals jobs in the City have increased to 483k, an increase of 28k jobs (6%) and up from 455k in 2016.

     

    The bulk of the new jobs created in the most recent year have been in the City’s largest sector – the finance and insurance sector with 18k. This is equivalent to 64% of the City’s total jobs growth with banking (2.5k), non-life insurance (3k), insurance brokers (2.5k) and ‘other financial services’ (2.5k) being the largest growth components.

     

    Tech and City

    In parallel the City of London is undergoing a transformation with the surge in the digital economy. Tech jobs now make up approximately 8% of the City’s workforce but the figure could and should be a lot higher as fintech and regtech become the norm.

     

    The Tech X The City paper published earlier this year, reported London as the world’s third-largest centre for tech companies. According to Tech City UK, in London, a new tech business is formed every hour. The UK secured £6.8 billion in venture capital and private equity investment in 2016, that’s over 50% more than any other European country. Over the past five years London has attracted more investment than Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam combined.

     

    So how does this London-wide trend impact the City? Growing fintech businesses such as Transferwise, iwoca and eToro are giving the big banks a run for their money. Across the capital Hackney, Westminster and Camden are the leading boroughs for tech startups, leaving the City in the dust – it’s time for the Square Mile to catch up.

     

    Corporates or Startups?

    According to Tech X City, while large corporates are embracing new technologies within their businesses and think the City is deal for collaborating with startups, they also believe more work needs to be done. If corporates are too slow to take the initiative, maybe startups will show the way. Storey is a new co-working space that has just opened in the City and its first tenant is the innovative new bank Starling – let’s see if this is a catalyst for much needed collaboration and innovation.

     

    Coffee and the City

    If you’re not convinced the City has a future as a tech hub and hive of innovation, perhaps some reflection on its past might help.

    The City of London (which is actually 1.12 square miles) is the oldest area of London, established in AD50 it has a rich and varied history. In the 17th century, the ‘coffee house’ arrived. It was to become the place to pick up news and gossip and they attracted different occupations which soon adopted the coffee houses as makeshift offices, giving birth to some of the world’s greatest financial institutions: the London Stock Exchange started in Jonathan’s Coffee House in Change Alley.

     

    Gerard Grech, chief executive of Tech City UK was recently quoted as saying “Lloyd’s of London was founded in a coffee house. The City was the original co-working hub, a place where interested parties would meet and talk face-to-face. It had a thriving ecosystem of interdependent businesses, financiers and technical support literally a century before anyone thought to describe it in such terms.”

     

    Let’s hope history repeats itself with the current pervasiveness of the ‘coffee shop and co-working’. Next time you’re invited to the City for co-working and a coffee you might find yourself at the beginning of something big!



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