Booming employment opportunities in the information technology (IT) field and a low cost of living elevated Leeds to the top of the UK Tech Town Index 2020 published today by CompTIA, the nonprofit association for the global technology industry and workforce.
Leeds displaced Manchester as the top-ranked location in this year’s index, which identifies the regions in the UK that offer the strongest combination of expanding career options for IT professionals and favourable quality of living traits. Manchester placed fourth this year.
Birmingham claimed the second spot this year, up from fourth in 2019. Belfast, which did not make the 2019 index, debuts at number three this year.
“The factors used to compile the index demonstrate that each of these markets have plentiful opportunities and a variety of choices to create a work-life balance, whether you are a current tech professional or someone who is looking for new career opportunities,” said Nancy Hammervik, executive vice president for industry relations at CompTIA.
“The UK technology community has demonstrated its ability to be a force for good, helping individuals and organisations make their way through unimaginable events and unanticipated challenges brought on by the pandemic,” said Steven Pretlove, managing director, CCS IT Solutions and chair of CompTIA’s UK Business Technology Community. “The experiences lived and lessons learned throughout this most challenging year have the UK tech sector and workforce poised to flourish and thrive in 2021 and beyond.”
Here is the complete UK Tech Town Index 2020 with 2019 ranking in parentheses.
- Leeds (3)
- Birmingham (4)
- Belfast (NR)
- Manchester (1)
- Cambridge (6)
- Edinburgh (7)
- London (5)
- Bristol (2)
- Reading (10)
- Bath (8)
A healthy increase in tech employment opportunities and projections for continued job growth helped Leeds move up from the third spot last year to the top of the index in 2020. More than 11,300 IT jobs were posted in the Leeds travel-to-work area (TTWA) between September 2019 and August 2020.
Several factors contributed to Birmingham’s rise to the second spot. Employers advertised nearly 20,000 IT job postings over a 12-month period. Birmingham has a strong and growing presence in the mobile gaming and eGaming sector. IT salaries are 39% higher than the UK average for all occupations, while housing costs are below the UK average.
Belfast’s arrival in the index reflects its rising status as a tech hub. Across the Belfast TTWA more than 11,000 IT jobs were posted by employers – a mix of programmers, software development professionals, IT business analysts and architects, IT support technicians and other occupations. Belfast also boasts an enviable cost of living for a capital city.
Manchester remains a top IT destination even as it slipped to number four in the 2020 index. A rise in the average cost of a home was a factor, but strong competition from other markets also contributed. Still, Manchester’s tech community is a growing force in artificial intelligence and machine learning, while the city is among the fastest growing in Europe.
Cambridge moved up one notch, solidifying its standing as a top location for IT. Its Silicon Fen has been named Europe’s largest technology cluster, which should continue given the area’s strong pharma and AI footprint.
CompTIA’s UK Tech Town Index is designed to help IT professionals and others make educated decisions about where to live and work based on employment opportunities, livability factors and opportunity costs. Factors such as the number of locally posted IT job postings, projected job growth and reported cost of living in travel to work areas (TTWAs) across the UK were evaluated.
The complete report is available at https://www.comptia.org/content/research/uk-best-tech-cities-it-jobs.
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