It’s hard to imagine anyone could have predicted the events that unfolded in 2016 and that we’d be moving into 2017 with Trump as President and Farage a candidate for Time’s “Person of the Year”.
Just consider that a £5 triple on Leicester winning the title, Britain voting for Brexit, and Trump securing presidency would have made you a tidy earner of £15,000,000.
One thing that did play out as we predicted was the areas marked for sector growth – the continued explosion of the fintech sector, the movement of AI and augmented reality into the mainstream and a surge in demand for cyber security.
With that in mind, we decided to lay our predictions on the table for 2017.
Named globally as the second biggest financial or capital investor into renewables over the next five years, switching to green gas could add £7.5bn annually to the UK economy according to a new report from Ecotricity.
Named the world’s first “green” company, and one of the UK’s most disruptive startups, Ecotricity carries a business model that’s creating an entirely new market.
Among its claims Ecotricity suggest that they could produce biogas for 97% of UK homes, creating up to 150,000 new jobs in the process.
Outpacing the wider economic growth, the UK space sector is a British success story worth talking about and is setting its sight on the stars by aiming to win 10% of the world’s estimated £400bn space market by 2030.
- The launch of the £80m Seraphim Space Fund
- Google Earth’s founder joined the Government-backed investment fund aimed at developing new space technologies.
Commercial space travel is the sub-sector to watch with more investment pouring into the field in 2015 than the previous 15 years combined, with the likes of Branson and Elon Musk throwing their hats into the ring.
Special mention should also be given to the UK’s intention to strengthen its position as the leader in satellite manufacture and applications.
IT & Tech
The global tech giants have thrown their weight behind a post-Brexit Britain and promised to invest heavily in expanding their operations in the UK.
Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and IBM have all shown that despite the uncertainty over the future of Brexit, there’s a certainty that the UK will remain an engine of growth for years to come.
Advertised vacancies have returned to growth but candidate availability has fallen, which is good news for the recruitment agencies with a pipeline to the tightening talent pool.
- Facebook to expand its operations by 50% when it opens its new London headquarters.
- Google to add 3,000 staff to its 4,000 strong King’s Cross headquarters.
- Early-stage tech, science and digital startups have received £11m in funding to 67 businesses through the London C-investment Fund.
- DeepMind intends to open access up to their AI platform for researchers, creating a spike in AI jobs.
- Smartphone revenue growth increased by 89% which shows the opportunities in the App market.
- Government to boost tech investment by £2bn with a new Industrial Strategy aimed at the commercial opportunities in AI, robotics and biotechnology.
We named cyber security as the most lucrative sector moving into 2016 and after the stream of front-page scandals, from TalkTalk and Ashley Madison to Sony and North Korea, we expect cyber security to be top of the agenda for businesses in 2017.
Especially among financial companies or those with data resources that will be drafting in contractors to quickly safeguard their systems.
A sector that rapidly emerged, keeps ballooning and was largely unexpected. Estimates believe that as many as 30,000 specialists might be drafted in to accommodate the transition out of the EU.
Specialist advisors will play a significant role over the two-year transitional period once Article 50 is triggered, and in the defining years of independence to follow.
They will be particularly important to businesses with vested interests in the EU, financial services, tax concerns, border control, and for those with physical offices and workers in the bloc.
A spokesman for KPMG suggested that these candidates may be sourced from a background in HR, operatives, and financial services. They will also need to display leadership and diplomacy in their functions as special advisors.
It’s the backbone of the UK, generating over 27% of UK GDP (£445.6bn) with a turnover growing by 3.4% to £1.21tn. Employment in engineering has also grown to over 5.5 million and the industry now supports 14.5 million jobs overall.
A real shining light in 2017 is the British automotive industry, which is back in the driving seat after several decades in the slow lane, and it’s going digital. With plans to scale investment and return the Midlands to its former glory as the engine of British industry.
A recent report from KPMG also suggests that by investing properly in digital technologies, the automotive industry could secure £6.9bn each year for the UK economy.
After Nissan secured the future of Sunderland’s automotive industry, Jaguar Land Rover announced its intentions to create 10,000 jobs by making electric cars and batteries in the West Midlands.
The UK’s new light commercial vehicle (LCV) market also experienced a surge in growth in November, reaching heights not experienced in two decades.
Even Tesla are eyeing up the UK for future investment after making their first foray into Europe by acquiring German engineering business, Grohmann.
As are Uber, who recently joined Apple in the AI field with a vision set on driverless cars.