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UK’s best cities for tech jobs

arnk41t6j821pxfmy93hThe UK technology industry is going from strength to strength. The last quarter of 2013 saw the sector’s best growth performance in almost a decade, and almost 44% of UK tech firms say they plan to hire staff this year, according to the KPMG/Markit Tech Monitor UK Report.

Some 72,000 new vacancies were created in 2012-2013 and those working in tech enjoyed the biggest salary increase (4.6%) of all industries, with the average worker paid £42,045. If you’re a techie looking for your next great job, here are the cities worth checking out.

1. London

As you might expect, London offers the most – and best paying – technology jobs in the UK. Some 600,000 people work in the city’s burgeoning technology business, earning £51,480 on average, according to research by Technology Jobs. More than 20,618 tech jobs were created in the capital during 2012 to 2013 and thanks to continued investment, tax breaks and support measures for the creative industries, the future looks bright. Samsung recently joined tech giants Facebook and Google by opening an innovation centre at Fleet Place, and the government is investing £15.5 million to fund new start-ups, while new construction and railway links will create more jobs in the high-tech industry by 2017. According to KPMG, the highest concentration of jobs is located towards the west of London (namely Richmond upon Thames and Hounslow) and in Silicon Roundabout in East London (the area centred around Old Street), which is home to almost 5,000 digital and technology companies, accounting for almost half of all tech start-ups in the UK.

2. Reading

Outside London, the biggest cluster of companies can be found in the South East, where the proportion of tech workers is more than one-and-a-half times the national average, according to KPMG. Reading, in particular, ranks highly in terms of both job vacancies and pay. According to Telegraph Jobs, Reading is the third-best city in the UK for pay (with an average salary of £43,210) and the third-best city for job opportunities (1,071 vacancies). Major multinational tech companies, as well as smaller ‘high tech’ firms, are based throughout the purpose-built business parks in the area, such as Thames Valley Business Park and Suttons Business Park, both of which are within close proximity to Reading. Further afield, tech clusters can be found in Wokingham, Rushmoor, Hart, Slough and Mole Valley and firms at business parks such as IQ Farnborough and the Farnborough Aerospace Centre, provide jobs in the area.

3. Cambridge

With a world-leading university, premier research infrastructure and numerous business parks, it’s little wonder that Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire have the highest concentrations of tech employment in the East of England – an area which is home to the third-highest concentration of tech jobs in the UK, after London and the South East. In Cambridge itself, the proportion of tech employees is nearly two-and-a-half times the national average, and scores very highly for software publishing (around four times the GB average) and computer programming & consultancy (at least twice the GB-wide average). The ‘Silicon Fen’ area of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire is a major hub within the region, with the Cambridge-Stansted-London corridor continuing to attract top tech firms. Slightly further afield, Stevenage and the Dacorum-Three Rivers area have been highlighted by KPMG as prominent areas for tech development and job opportunities in the region.

4. Bristol

Bristol ranks well in terms of both job numbers and pay. The city is the fifth best in the UK for vacancies (732) and pay, with an average salary of £41,329, according to Telegraph Jobs. At the start of this year, it was announced that Marine Current Turbines (MCT), a Siemens Company, at the Bristol & Bath Science Park is set to receive funding from the Government’s Regional Growth Fund for research and development into innovative tidal technology. The £1 million grant to MCT will create 49 new jobs by establishing a tidal turbine blade manufacturing facility, reinforcing the region’s position at the forefront of environmental technologies. The West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) also recently announced 12 high-tech businesses who have been awarded close to £2m of grant funding – in addition to the £11.85m already awarded from the West of England Growth Fund. Bristol business Blu Wireless Technology will get £1m for its WiGig (new generation WiFi) and 4G technology. Other recipients include Blue Speck Financial (£220k), AptCore (£80k), Nanoscope Services (£40k), SecondSync (£100k) and Digital TV Labs (£233k), which together should make a huge impact on jobs growth in the area.

5. Edinburgh

Scotland’s ICT and digital technologies sector currently employs 73,000 people and techies lucky enough to work in the country’s capital enjoy the best salaries outside of London. The average pay for technology jobs in Edinburgh is £48,217, the second highest in the UK, with Glasgow coming in fourth place at £41,520, according to Technology Jobs. In March, Scotland’s First Minister unveiled The Skills Investment Plan – a £6.6 million investment to develop skills in the sector and support the demand of up to 11,000 jobs per year in the country. John McClelland, chair of Skills Development Scotland, said: ‘There is an unprecedented demand for ICT and digital technology professionals, and across Europe the number of jobs is growing by more than 100,000 each year. ‘The skills investment plan sets out a vision for Scotland to be viewed as a world-class location for ambitious ICT and digital technology businesses to be able to develop, invest and grow by having access to a talent pool with exceptional skills.’

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