Tech Cities Gain Ground in Battle for IT Talent

ThinkstockPhotos-82090079Last year saw the battle for IT hires intensify as several of the UK’s Tech Cities narrowed the gap against London’s dominance. This was the major finding from our latest Tech Cities Job Watch report, a quarterly survey of IT hiring demand in the UK. The report found that while London remains the dominant technology hub, cities outside of London are quickly gaining momentum and fuelling the competition in the battle for tech talent.

Improving cross country transport links between London and the North and an increase in the number of companies basing their core functions in other cities are together creating more employment opportunities around the UK. Skilled IT workers in Britain no longer have to stay in the Capital in order to work at the cutting edge of the latest technologies. Higher pay levels outside London (and in some cases, higher than London) are also being offered for specialists as an incentive to attract and retain rare skills.

In fact, our report shows that six of the UK’s fastest growing Tech Cities [Birmingham, Brighton, Glasgow, Leeds, Manchester and Newcastle upon Tyne] reported a quarterly rise in the overall number of roles advertised, which contrasts with the country’s overall dip in hiring witnessed in Q3.

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We are also seeing the country’s Northern region emerge as a key tech-hub, largely attributed to the development of Tech North. In particular, Manchester and Leeds have seen ‘big company’ investment come into the region this past quarter. The resulting recruitment drives to resource critical technology projects have caused a boost for skilled talent, particularly for Cloud roles. Combined with a growing tech start up community, these cities now offer IT professionals a range of exciting and well paid opportunities.

Glasgow and Newcastle upon Tyne recorded the strongest quarterly increases in permanent and contract roles advertised (49% and 41% respectively). This is, in part, due to a surge in recruitment activity in the Financial Services sectors of both cities.

It’s worth noting that outside of London, the highest average salary was being offered in Cambridge, which has been rising in prominence as a growing Tech City. The city has been a technology hub since 1970 – when Cambridge Science Park was founded – but it is only recently that its success at funding startups has made it a cluster for tech jobs as well as innovation.

What our 2015 Tech Cities Job Watch Reports have illustrated is that the momentum in tech recruitment across the UK is still continuing to grow, a result of the ongoing evolution of technology.

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Geoff Smith

Geoff Smith
Geoff Smith is managing director of Experis.

Geoff Smith

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