THE digital technologies sector in Scotland remains firmly in “growth mode” despite ongoing political uncertainty across the UK, according to the latest annual industry survey by trade ScotlandIS.

Over the last year, the number of technology companies in Scotland reporting increased sales rose from 68% to 75%, while improving profits also increased from 47% to 51% among the firms surveyed.

The industry has now seen strong growth over 10 years and this trend looks set to continue well into 2019, as 83% of the 160 respondents to the survey reported that they expect to expand sales over the year while 81% plan to create new jobs.

Polly Purvis, chief executive of digital tech trade association ScotlandIS, said: “The digital technologies industry is a major contributor to the Scottish economy, so it’s great to see the vast majority of Scottish tech businesses are expecting a successful year, anticipating growth in sales and new job creation.

“2018 was a very strong year, and despite ongoing uncertainty, this year’s survey highlights the strength and resilience of the industry within Scotland. The technology landscape is constantly evolving and provides huge opportunities in areas as diverse as data, cyber, AI, robotics, fintech, healthtech and agritech.

“As increasing use of technology products and solutions permeates all parts of the economy, underpinning increased productivity and enabling innovation, there has never been a better time to be in tech.”

With the digital industries generating £6 billion in GVA, and £3.3bn in annual export earnings, 53% of respondents reported they are already selling internationally and a further 19% are planning to.

Demand for university graduates within the sector also remained steady, as 70% of respondents said they were likely to recruit graduates this year.

However, the firms had a slightly less favourable outlook on the future this year, as the percentage of companies expressing optimism fell from 80% to 72%.

Some of the major issues the businesses reported included staff recruitment and retention, which 52% of respondents said was a challenge, the current political situation, which 41% of the firms identified, and sales and winning new business, which was a concern for 30% of the companies.