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Accenture creates 500 UK jobs in AI, robotics and cyber defence

US consultancy giant Accenture has hired more than 500 staff to work on AI, VR, DevOps, robotics and cyber defence in the UK, it revealed today.

The investment forms part of a hiring spree described by Philip Hammond as a “vote of confidence” in the British economy.

“These jobs will be filled around the country in cutting-edge sectors where Britain leads the world,” the chancellor said.

In total, the firm has created more than 1,700 new jobs over the last 12 months.

Accenture UK and Ireland’s chairman Olly Benzecrey said the move represented an ongoing commitment to Britain.

“As new technologies rapidly impact every aspect of our lives, from progress in AI to the increasing threat of cyber crime, we are taking on people who possess the skills required to help our clients to succeed in the digital economy,” he said.

“In return, we offer them the opportunity to work with those technologies that are transforming the way we live and work, in an organisation that puts our employees’ learning and professional development first,” he added.

The investment comes amid fears that the UK’s departure from the European Union could stifle innovation.

It’s feared that Brexit could deal a particularly heavy blow to the tech sector as startups struggle to recruit top talent.

In an interview with NS Tech last month, Claire Cockerton, CEO of Plexal, a new innovation hub in East London, warned that the referendum had already made it harder for startups to hire executives from Europe.

“CEOs won’t uproot their family and come to London without a sense of assurance about the future for themselves and their families here,” said Cockerton.

Nevertheless, the UK has recently seen a wave of investments from US tech firms. In the past 12 months, Apple, Google and Facebook have pledged long-term investment into London.

The capital also retained its title as tech funding capital of Europe last month after a series of mega-deals made the first half of 2017 the ‘best’ six months of the last decade.

Major funding rounds from Improbable (£388m), Funding Circle (£82m), Zopa (£32m) and Monzo (£22m) helped the city secure a record-breaking £1.1bn in VC-funding between January and June.

According to data from London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional agency, the city has received more venture capital investment than any other European tech hub since the Brexit vote, seeing off competition from Berlin, Paris and Dublin.