Journalists are the most influential voices in the European technology industry

LONDON – Journalists have been identified as the most influential voices in the European technology industry by 2023, overtaking business leaders for the first time in seven years, according to the latest Tyto Tech 500 survey.

The number of journalists in the Tech 500 ranking has increased by 38% since 2021 and now makes up 198 of the 500 most influential people in the annual list compiled by pan-European technology agency Tyto.

The Tech 500 identifies the most influential people in the technology sector across the UK, Germany, France and – for the first time this year – the Netherlands and Sweden. The research team uses a proprietary methodology that assesses a person’s traditional earned media and online influence.

Tyto senior partner and head of media and influence Zoë Clark told PROvoke Media: “We talk a lot in PR about influence, how to get it, who has it and how to measure it. Tech500 lifts the bonnet on influence in the tech landscape. It is hugely comprehensive, taking over 1,000 hours of data-driven research – not our subjective opinion – and is relied upon by clients and prospects who want to get an overview of influence in one of the countries we look at or those abroad, particularly in the US, who is trusted; it helps shape conversation and thinking around PR strategies.”

Journalists on the list of the 20 most influential people for the European technology industry include BFM Business broadcaster François Sorel; Sarah Butler, retail correspondent at The Guardian; and BBC science correspondent Jonathan Amos.

Clark said: “The biggest change is that, for the first time, journalists are considered to be the most influential group in addition to business leaders, academics and politicians. I think there are two reasons: Although we cannot say that the media in general is more trust, this shows the continuing importance of good sources and journalism, especially against the relentless spread of fake news in B2B and B2C.

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“People are more aware of where the journalism is coming from, whether it’s a trusted source and expert commentary, so these journalists really have more influence. Also, it’s simply becoming more part of journalists’ jobs to raise their own profile and be more visible on the social.”

The survey also shows that influence in the European technology industry is heavily weighted towards the private sector: 37% of the most influential people are business leaders. At country level, business leaders make up 51% of the most influential in the UK, 70% in France, 64% in Germany, 62% in Sweden and 25% in the Netherlands.

Female representation in the pan-European Tech 500 has increased from 22% in 2021 to 27% in 2023. Most female influencers belong to the categories of business leaders and journalists, who account for 78% of women in the pan-European top 500.

The UK leads the way for female representation, with 30% of the country’s top tech influencers being women, closely followed by Germany (28%), France (23%), Sweden (21%) and the Netherlands (15%).

Women in the top 50 include Germany’s Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Annalena Baerbock; Helen Dickinson, Chief Executive of the British Retail Consortium; UK MP Caroline Lucas; and Bloomberg tech columnist Parmy Olson.

Clark said she was encouraged by the narrowing of the gender gap but would like to see more action sooner, especially as the promotion of women in STEM has been on the agenda for some time: “It’s shocking that women are still lagging behind men with a three-to-one ratio, but it’s promising to see that female representation has increased. We still see the same challenges in getting senior women in tech to attend high-level events and speaking opportunities.”

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The most influential people in the ranking come mainly from four large tech sectors: general tech, enterprise, fintech and consumer technology, which together make up 58% of the Tech 500. This mirrors the previous year, but two other sectors have shown rapid growth in influence: In two years, the number of influencers related to space technology has increased by 350% and cyber security by 43%.

For the second year in a row, Richard Branson, British business magnate, investor and founder of the Virgin Group, has been identified as the most influential person in the European technology sector.

As for what the findings mean for agencies and internal communicators working in the technology industry, Clark said: “Most importantly, the influence landscape is different across Europe: each country has local nuances and for organizations looking to build their reputation across Europe, it is important to understand the local influencer landscape and the topics that are driving the most relevant conversations, whether spacetech, AI or politics, so that this data can be used to map and plan campaigns.”