Manchester set to be next UK tech hub as IT workers look beyond London

Manchester is on course to be the next UK tech hub, as an influx of tech talent and IT workers is predicted in the next three years, according to new research from CWJobs.

Surveying 1,000 tech workers, Manchester emerged as the top choice outside of the capital (22%) to work in, with a fifth (20%) also revealing it’s the city they would choose to set up a tech business in the next three years, ahead of Birmingham (11%) and Edinburgh (8%).

In the same survey, 505 IT decision-makers also placed Manchester as the best location to set up a tech business, with over a quarter (27%) choosing the city.

What are the biggest tech hubs in the UK — and which is right for your business?

The UK technology sector is speeding ahead of other areas of the country’s economy, but where are these expanding tech hubs, and which of them is right for your business? Read here

Manchester UK tech hub

This influx of tech talent could be coming directly from the capital, with London potentially set to be hit with a mass exodus of IT workers.

Three-quarters (75%) of London’s tech workers revealed they are likely to relocate within the next three years. High house prices could be one of the main reasons its tech workers are set to be on the move. The cost of living is considered the largest factor (52%) for those likely to relocate, ahead of getting on the property ladder (32%) and facing too much travel (30%).

Rise in remote working

When it comes down to travel and commuting, more tech workers are looking outside of the already established London tech bubble and are calling for policies to work from anywhere they want.

In fact, even before the current situation with Covid-19, two-thirds (66%) of tech workers revealed they would accept a job that was based over two hours from where they lived if they could work remotely/flexibly, and half (49%) would take a pay cut to be allowed to work from home.

Therefore, companies — no matter the size or sector — are being urged to commit more to remote working policies to attract and keep talent, something that’s been heard and put into action quickly in light of today’s climate. Whilst this is seen to clearly benefit the employer, eight in 10 (80%) IT decision-makers believe remote working policies benefit both employees and employers by increasing productivity across the business.

A remote working guide: how can UK businesses prepare for an Italy-style Covid-19 lockdown?

In the event of an Italy-style Covid-19 lockdown, UK businesses need a remote working guide to prepare them for potential disruption to their day-to-day. Read here

A specialist set of skills

When it comes to searching for specific tech skills, London remains the place to look for talent for now, at least.

Cloud emerged as the specialist skill most in demand, with over half of IT decision-makers (57%) looking for this expertise for their company. Showcasing the talent at its disposal in its wider regions, Greater London (38%) has the highest percentage of tech workers identified as having cloud specialist skills.

With cyber attacks hitting the headlines on a daily basis, it’s no surprise to see cyber security (54%) also in high demand. Greater London again emerges top (33%) with the highest percentage of specialists in this area per tech worker in the country.

Over a third of IT decision-makers (37%) are looking for tech workers with skills in big data, but they need to look beyond the capital. The East Midlands has been found to be the place to look, having the highest percentage (29%) of its tech workers with that skill compared to anywhere else in the country.

Dominic Harvey, director at CWJobs comments: “The UK’s tech talent scene is set to see a dramatic shift in the next few years with workers believing the grass is greener outside the capital.

“These results suggest there is a growing call from tech workers for a better work-life balance and they’re prepared to up sticks and move to achieve it.

“The current [coronavirus] situation has shown that with the advancements in technology, location is no longer the barrier it once was in limiting where people can work from. Moving forward, remote working policies will become the new-normal, opening a wider field of talent for companies to access across the UK than ever before.”


Avatar photo

Nick Ismail

Nick Ismail is a former editor for Information Age (from 2018 to 2022) before moving on to become Global Head of Brand Journalism at HCLTech. He has a particular interest in smart technologies, AI and...