UK performs well in OECD digital transformation ranking

Posted on 24 Nov 2017 by Jonny Williamson

New OECD report shows how countries worldwide are pushing ahead in developing new digital technologies, automating manufacturing and ensuring workers have the right skills for tomorrow’s jobs.

New Zealand is regarding the digital transformation a world leader in the IoT sector. – image courtesy of Pixabay

The ‘OECD Science, Technology and Industry Scoreboard 2017’ shows that Australia is a leader in using tax incentives to support business R&D but has one of the lowest shares of robot uptake of OECD countries.

Whereas, New Zealand is regarding the digital transformation a world leader in the IoT sector.

However, the report analyses the 35 OECD member countries, and finds that the UK performs very well when it comes to the implementation of new digital technologies.

Science, innovation and the digital revolution

Machine-to-machine (M2M) communication is part of the underlying infrastructure for the Internet of Things.

Among G20 economies, the UK had the third-highest M2M penetration (the number of M2m sim cards per inhabitant) in June 2017, just behind the United States and France and ahead of China and Germany.

The United Kingdom accounted to 6% of the world’s top 10% of the most cited scientific publications in 2016, behind the US and China and down from 7.7% in 2005.

Britain produced the fourth greatest share of scientific documents on machine learning after the US, China and India – and is third on a quality adjusted basis.

And, the United Kingdom accounted for 1.9% of the AI related patent application during 2010-2015, down from 3.3% in 2000-2005.

The development of AI technologies is geographically concentrated. R&D performing corporations based in Japan, Korea, Taipei and China account for about 70% of all AI related inventions belonging to the world’s 2000 top corporate R&D investors and their affiliates, and US based companies for 18%.

Firm headquartered in the UK accounted for 0.5% of all AI-related inventions from 2012 – 2014.

Growth, jobs and the digital transformation 

From 2010 to 2016, the UK had the fourth largest net employment gains in the OECD, of over 2.5 million jobs, behind the US, Turkey and Germany. Large net gains were recorded in wholesale, retail, accommodation and transport, and business services and public services.

In 2014, 31% of jobs in the business sector in the UK were sustained by foreign demand, up from 25% in 2004.

In 2015, women represented 38% of all tertiary graduates in natural sciences, engineering and ICT fields, which is the fourth highest share in the OECD.

In 1995, the United Kingdom was the fourth most important hub for IT manufacturing, but had fallen to the ninth  position 2011. However, it was also the fourth most important hub in ICT services in 1995, and had moved up to the third place in 2011.

And, almost 95% of persons in the UK aged 16-74 used the Internet in 2016, up from 67% from 2006.