Barcelona, a digital technology hub

Digital map of the city of Barcelona

Oriol Pàmies, texts Carles Javierre Kohan, infographics

The charts point to Barcelona as a leading hub of the new economy, which is developed around information and communication technologies (ICT). In recent years, the city has strengthened its position as an international digital hub, where innovation and entrepreneurship are thriving, and where major events such as the Mobile World Congress are held. The drivers are the high level of education in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), the dense ecosystem (the network of interconnected digital platforms and services that create value for businesses and consumers) and the high quality of life.


Infographic Evolution of the GDP of the information and communications sector in Barcelona

The economy’s technology sector, clearly on the rise

The added value of the information and communications sector, which includes ICT, is constantly growing, as is its relative contribution to the local economy as a whole, of which it is already a major component.

Demand for new digital professionals in Barcelona
Infographic Total digital professionals in Barcelona
Infographics Supply and demand for talent in mature technologies

Digital talent in Barcelona

In the wake of the pandemic, the recruitment of digital professionals has gained momentum, with almost 100,000 jobs in Barcelona. In 2021, two out of every ten job offers were digital, with the most sought-after profile being that of web developer. In emerging technologies, the demand for specialists in the Internet of Things (IoT) is particularly high.

Infographics Students enrolled and graduates in ICT degrees in Catalonia
Infographics Graduates in ICT degrees in Catalonia
Infographics Universities where digital talent has been nurtured in mature and emerging technologies

Pool of future professionals

The profusion of schools and the high standard of technological and scientific education, especially in public universities, is one of Barcelona’s strengths. The UPC is a leader in both mature and emerging technologies (the most innovative and that have not yet reached their maturity).

Infographic Best european ecosystems to establish a start-up
Infographic Arrival of foreign companies in Barcelona
Infographic Evolution of the amount of start-ups in Catalonia

Attracting talent and international investment

Barcelona not only creates talent, it attracts it. It also attracts investors from all over the world: among the projects that arrived in 2022 under the auspices of Barcelona City Council, 60% came from outside the European Union. The number of start-ups (new companies with high growth potential) has shot up 86% since 2016. In Catalonia as a whole, 86.7% of start-ups are located in the Barcelona Metropolitan Area.

Distribution of employment in strategic sectors by gender in Barcelona
The share of women in the digital sector in Barcelona and nine other european cities

The gender gap remains in the new economy

Women account for one third of employees in the ICT sector, the same as in industry and well below leading sectors such as health and creative activities. Barcelona ranks better in comparison with nine competing European cities. The technology pay gap is narrowing and is now half the average for the city.

Entrepreneurship in Barcelona
Entrepreneurship averages

Fertile ground for entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is key to boosting the digital economy. And in the total early-stage entrepreneurial activity or TEA rate (percentage of the population aged 18 to 64 involved in a business that has been running for less than 3.5 years), Barcelona and Catalonia are at the forefront in Spain and above the European average. Sant Martí (home to 22@) is the leading district.

Profile of the technology hub in Barcelona
Exponential growth of technology hubs

European capital of technology hubs

Barcelona is home to 96 global technology development centres for companies as powerful as HP, Nestlé, PepsiCo and Bayer. Their economic impact amounts to 1.4 billion euros and they employ some 15,000 people, 35% of whom can be classified as digital nomads. The attraction of these hubs to a particular territory is considered strategic, given their positive impact in areas such as attracting highly specialised local and international talent, boosting the economy and local service providers, and other intangible benefits, such as the imported knowledge associated with innovation and digitalisation.

Main features of the Marenostrum 4 Supercomputer

Supercomputing at the service of science

Research is further advanced by equipment such as MareNostrum, one of Europe’s most powerful supercomputers. Since its launch in 2005 (then version 1), it has been used to perform massive data analysis in virtually all scientific disciplines, from astrophysics to materials physics, biomedicine, engineering and industry.

A solid international position
Main trade fairs and congresses

A solid international position

Since 2017 Barcelona has made an appearance on lists of innovative and benchmark cities in the realm of technology. The sector’s stated goal is to become an economic pillar of the city by 2030.

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