Manchester crowned biggest tech hub outside of UK capital

The city is home to one in five of the tech-focused professions found outside of London

Manchester is the UK’s most impactful tech hotspot outside of London, according to research by digital learning company Fire Tech.

In a study analysing more than 100,000 UK-based roles advertised on jobs site Indeed, the company sought to pinpoint the nation’s most impactful tech cities, home to the most tech- or digitally-focused employment opportunities outside of the capital. A concurrent survey of more than 2,000 workers took place alongside the research.

The UK is currently facing a digital skills shortage in the fallout of the pandemic, cemented by the fact that almost three-quarters (74%) of respondents believed they would have to relocate to London to secure a job in tech. There are, in fact, a number of UK cities that are recognised ‘hubs’ for well-paid roles in the field, but the lack of awareness surrounding these opportunities has fed the misconception that workers must migrate to the capital to secure a meaningful role.

To alleviate the tech skills crisis, the UK government must shine the spotlight on the available digital employment opportunities across diverse cities, widening access to digital education programmes to equip people with the necessary skills to thrive in a tech-based career.

For aspiring technologists, Manchester would be a strong port of call, with Fire Tech’s research finding that the city is home to 21% of tech/digital roles outside of London. Birmingham comes in second, with 16% of tech-centred job listings outside of the capital.

Both Bristol and Leeds came joint third, each accounting for 11% of digital professions outside of London.

As part of the study, researchers examined the average salary for tech-based jobs across each city. Ranked in order from highest to lowest, the list is as follows:

  1. London – £72,500
  2. Edinburgh – £67,500
  3. Manchester – £57,500
  4. Leeds – £57,500
  5. Birmingham – £52,500
  6. Glasgow – £52,500
  7. Bristol – £52,500
  8. Cardiff – £47,500
  9. Liverpool – £45,000
  10. Southampton – £42,500

The data shows that there are many UK cities outside of the capital that offer well-paid employment in the sector, but more needs to be done to boost their reputation as digital hubs to inspire current and future workers to capitalise on such opportunities.

Jill Hodges, Fire Tech founder, commented: “It is no secret that the UK is facing a looming disaster with its shortage of digital skills. Coupled with adults in the UK believing there are no well-paid tech-based jobs where they live means there is a negative mindset towards the tech industry.

“More needs to be done to break the stigma around tech-based job roles and more initiatives need to be in place to highlight the positives of working in this fast-growing industry. As highlighted within the study, tech-based job roles pay extremely well, with most salaries averaging around the £50k mark – just one of the many plus points of working in the industry.”

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