- Security tech sector revenue up 21 percent over the past year, on top of £381 million
- Jobs in this sector rose 30 percent to 2,850 across the UK
British security tech firms are leading the global fight against online pitfalls and are one of the fastest growing sectors of the UK tech industry, according to an independent report published by the government today.
Over a hundred companies spread across the UK are creating innovative products and services to secure online platforms, apps and websites. They do this, for example, by preventing illegal content – such as child sexual abuse and terrorist material – by combating online harassment and propaganda, and by helping to prevent underage access to inappropriate material.
UK safety tech sector: 2022 An analysis by Perspective Economics on behalf of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport shows UK safety tech sector revenue jumped 21 per cent last year, reaching £381 million.
The number of security technical jobs increased by 30 percent in 2021, with an additional 650 jobs taking the total number of people employed in the sector to 2,850. Jobs in this field include content moderators, policy professionals as well as research and technology developers.
The safety tech sector is on track to grow even further, having raised a record-breaking £63 million of external equity investment last year.
Companies adopting online security technology also experience overall greater brand trust, higher user engagement, and better staff and customer retention, according to a second report, Trust, Safety and the Digital Economy, released today.
Digital Minister Damien Collins said:
Making the online world safe is not only the right thing to do, but it’s also good for business.
UK tech firms are at the cutting edge of developing practical solutions to the risks posed by the Internet so that it remains a benefit, not a loss to people’s lives.
They have ignited a path of growth, innovation and job creation to become world leaders in their field and we are determined to maintain their upward trajectory.
There are now 117 security tech firms operating across the UK, an increase of 17 from the previous year. More than half of these firms are based outside London, with hotspots in Leeds, Edinburgh and Manchester.
These firms include Chester-based Gobble, which is partnering with Professional Footballers Australia and FTSE 250 companies to protect its social media channels from online hate and abuse. Sycomb, based in Edinburgh, is working with law enforcement agencies in Germany, Canada and across the United States to detect illegal child sex abuse material. Dorset-based Image Analyst, winner of the 2021 Computing Award for Best Emerging AI Technology, provides AI-based content moderation technology for image and video, including live-streamed footage uploaded by users.
Ciaran Martin, CB, Professor of Government at Oxford University, Advisor to Paladin Capital Group and Founding Chief Executive of the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, said:
Properly designed, secure technology is critical to everything about our future in an uncertain and sometimes dangerous world. As this report shows, the UK is well placed to help develop security technology in some key areas. It is important that we take advantage of this opportunity.”
Andy Burroughs, Head of Online Security Policy at the NSPCC, said:
The UK is well positioned to be a global leader in developing innovative solutions that tackle online harm and keep children safe from preventable abuse. The development of the safety tech market will promote the safety of children and provide significant economic benefits. As these reports make clear, upcoming regulation could encourage innovation and provide safer and better-designed online services for children and young people.
Ian Stevenson, president of the Online Safety Tech Industry Association (OSTIA), said:
I am pleased to see that the Safety Tech Sector Analysis confirms that the sector has witnessed strong growth in sales, employment and investment and is one of the fastest growing segments of the economy. The new Trust, Safety and Digital Economy report highlights how platforms benefit from security technology by creating healthier and more resilient online environments that have commercial value as well as benefit their users. These new analysis will help OSTIA members and others in the region to keep up with these positive trends.
The Trust Safety and Digital Economy Study, conducted by Ipsos, Perspective Economics and Careful Industries, looked at six different industries important to the UK economy, including gaming and entertainment; social media, apps and platforms; media and creative industries; retail and services; digital infrastructure; and to understand the business case for investing in the public sector, online trust and online security.
These report findings support the measures outlined in the Online Safety Bill, and the Government’s commitment to ensuring that the UK is the safest place in the world to be online.
Notes to the Editor
- Earlier this month, the Minister for Tech and the Digital Economy, Damien Collins, held a roundtable with security tech industry leaders to discuss new and emerging UK tech solutions that address a range of online pitfalls, including fraud and child abuse. and how the government can better support the growing sector
- Since 2020, the UK Safety Tech Sector Analysis Report has taken note of the rise of this rapidly growing sector in which the UK has become an emerging leader. Read the 2020 and 2021 reports here.
- Interviews for the Trust, Security and Digital Economy report were conducted with participants from 26 organizations between September 2021 and January 2022. Two stakeholder workshops were also organized in autumn 2021.
- The UK Online Safety Tech Industry Association (OSTIA) was established in April 2020, bringing together leading UK safety tech companies to promote online safety innovations and solutions in the UK and abroad.
- The government has supported the safety tech sector through the creation of the Safety Tech Challenge Fund, which has been launched to encourage UK tech firms to work in end-to-end encrypted environments while maintaining user privacy. To help keep children safe.
- In June, the government laid out its support for the security tech sector in the UK Digital Strategy, which includes its approach to developing the digital economy, addressing tech sector skills, investment and infrastructure.