12 Best UK Cities Outside London For IT/Tech Roles
When people think of business, IT and technology in the UK, the majority will see London as the main hub activity and the place to be to get ahead and make a name for yourself. And while it is true that most of the biggest companies are situated in the Greater London area, it isn’t the only place to have a successful career in IT.
With the commuting and cost of living putting many young technical people off the idea of living and working in the capital, they may consider looking at the fast growing alternatives across the UK. Here are the 12 best UK cities outside London for IT/Tech roles.
The financial and cultural centre of the North East, Newcastle has quickly become one of the UK’s centres of high-tech industry, with renewable energy and manufacturing businesses being top of the list. The Newcastle Science City brings a lot of talent to the city in various areas and with its low living rates, a number of startups have also sprouted up in the city.1
While some see it in the shadow of one of its neighbours, Scotland’s largest city has experienced high levels of demand for web developers which account for a third of its IT roles. This is mainly due to the financial services in the region investing in the development of front, middle and back office platforms. Glasgow was also granted ‘Smart City’ status resulting in a £24 million grant in 2013.2
Home to some of the most famous household names in the UK, such as Cunard, Garmin, and B&Q, Southampton and its neighbours like Portsmouth are highly sought after due to its strong innovations in aerospace, business, professional & financial services, environmental technologies, and marine science. The area also boasts very low living and travel rates making it a desirable place to work.3
Regular host city for the International Festival for Business, Liverpool is fast-becoming the start-up destination of North West England. Boasting four main areas for industry (traditional, commercial, the waterfront and the creative quarter) covering most bases and the history and tourism opportunities in the region, it’s no wonder more and more are being enticed to work alongside the River Mersey.4
Leeds is the UK’s third largest city and is home to some of the biggest brands such as Asda Walmart, Sky Bet and Marks and Spencer. The region boasts a £62.5 billion economy and a workforce of 1.37 million. Key sectors in this city include finance and business, retail, leisure, construction, manufacturing, and creative and digital industries. So if you’re looking for a job in a progressive and thriving city, Leeds could be the one for you.3
Tech Nation’s 2018 report found that Reading’s tech company density is approximately seven times higher than the national average. A number of high-profile companies such as Microsoft, Oracle, Huawei and CISCO systems have recently opened offices in the area and with London airports and transport links nearby, it’s an excellent place for graduates and apprentices to make big strides in business & technology.5
With £2 billion of funding from the government dedicated to the ‘Golden Triangle’ of London, Cambridge & Oxford, Cambridge has successfully built itself a reputation as being the home of a burgeoning life science tech scene. As well as a start-up hub, a number of AI outposts are based there including Apple, Microsoft and Darktrace with graduates from the local university guaranteed a large range of futures to choose from.6
5) Bristol & Bath
Traditionally known for its engineering and innovation, over 60,000 people work in the tech industry in Bristol and Bath. A large hub for startups such as JustEat and for Robotics with companies like Sony based in the city, Bristol, as well as Bath just down the A4, have seen a large rise in young professionals and entrepreneurs taking up residence and with the removal of the Severn bridge toll, opening doors to many from the South Wales area.7
Known for its thriving arts scene and the tradition of combining art and technology, ‘Silicon Beach’ is an up-and-coming tech city with over 12,500 digital jobs and 218 technology start-ups. It’s also home to companies like American Express and Brandwatch and hosts a number of tech-related events like Brighton SEO and Brighton Digital Festival. These factors along with being the Green capital of the UK makes the city a very pleasant and relaxing area to work.7
With the largest number of start-ups of any other city outside of London and with a growing number of co-working spaces, Birmingham has earned a reputation for having a strong tech community with more than 38,000 tech workers and over 6,000 tech companies. With a burgeoning fintech industry, Birmingham is home to companies like Deutsche Bank and Oxygen Finance and being in the Midlands means great transport links in any direction.8
With the opening of MediaCityUK in 2010 which now contains the BBC, ITV, Ericsson and Kellogg’s to name a few, Manchester is now seen as one the UK’s largest technology hubs. The city has a good balance of established and start-up tech firms and its digital sector is worth £2.9 billion to the local economy. All this adds up to Manchester having the largest number of digital jobs outside of London.7
This city’s economy is among the strongest in the UK, and has a rich and creative environment, perfect for anyone looking to have a successful career. Edinburgh is home to some of the country’s leading science parks and research centres as well as a cluster of fast-growth businesses and emerging start-ups such as accounting provider FreeAgent, travel booking platform Skyscanner.3
While London may still be seen by many as the top place to work in the IT and tech industries, it is at least encouraging to see that several areas of the UK are catching up to the capital, some providing just as many opportunities and just as good, or in some cases, even better work/life balance and job prospects.
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