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Beyond London: Best UK cities for IT jobs

TechnologyThe UK’s digital technology industry is booming. The sector is predicted to outperform all other sectors in terms of job creation by 2020, according to a recent report by Tech Nation. If you’re an IT professional looking for your next role, there’s good reason to extend your job search outside of the capital.

According to a recent Experis Tech Cities Jobs Watch report, two-thirds of UK digital companies and 28% of the latest tech jobs are based outside of the city – and the numbers are set to increase.

Geoff Smith, MD of Experis Europe, explains: ‘As technology continues to filtrate into every aspect of a business, regardless of industry sector, this trend is only likely to gather pace in 2015 and beyond.’

While London remains a hotbed for tech start-ups, other areas of the country are experiencing even more rapid growth. Take Bournemouth, for example. One of the fastest-growing tech clusters in the UK, the town and has seen a 200% increase in the number of digital companies over the last three years.

Pay outside the capital

Working outside of the city doesn’t necessarily mean taking a huge pay cut. London pays the highest average salary for full-time IT workers (£53,107) but Edinburgh and Cambridge remain competitive, offering £43,615 and £42,004 respectively. Some IT roles actually pay better outside of the city. For example, big data specialists earn £64,517 on average in Glasgow, £2,000 more than in London, while cyber security freelancers could make £495 a day in Edinburgh, compared to £420 in the capital.

Those working outside the capital are also more likely to have received a pay rise last year, according to research by the IT Job Board website. Tech salaries in London increased by just 3% over the two years to the end of 2014. In comparison, salaries increased by 9% in Scotland, 7% in northeast England and 6% in the northwest, East Midlands and the southwest over the same period.

Hiring and salary trends

If you’re looking for UK tech jobs, here are the latest hiring trends and salaries you can expect across the UK’s leading tech towns and cities.

Edinburgh Average permanent IT salary: £43,615 Average IT day rate: £316

The average tech salary in Edinburgh increased by 9% during the second quarter of 2015 (taking it to £43,615), outranking Glasgow as the highest paying tech city outside of London. On average, the city pays IT Security contractors £500 per day – one of the best rates in the UK. The number of permanent roles advertised increased by 11.5% over the quarter, with 42% of those being for web developers.

Glasgow Average permanent IT salary: £42,318 Average IT day rate: £323

Like Edinburgh, Glasgow experienced high levels of demand for web developers (accounting for 32% of all IT roles advertised), thanks largely to financial services in the region investing in the development of front, middle and back office platforms. Glasgow also saw strong demand for IT security professionals, while the city paid the highest average day rate for mobile roles at £454 per day.

Cambridge Average permanent IT salary: £42,004 Average day rate: £341

Cambridge offered the third highest average salary for permanent tech jobs outside of London, second to Edinburgh and Glasgow between April and June this year. Big data professionals commanded the highest salaries in the city (£50,447), followed by IT security (£48,734) and cloud professionals (£45,520).

Bristol Average permanent IT salary: £39,001 Average day rate: £365

Bristol continues to rank among the top cities for overall day rates paid, with IT Security professionals earning the most in the city, at £423 per day on average. Big data specialists are in particularly high demand in Bristol, which explains the 10% salary increase (to £52,091), the highest outside of London.

Leeds Average permanent IT salary: £37,979 Average day rate: £299

Leeds advertised the second-highest number of contractor roles outside of London, second to Manchester. Web developers and mobile professionals were amongst the most sought after. The best paid roles were in big data (£48,118), cloud (£40,773) and IT security (£40,648).

Birmingham Average permanent IT salary: £37,581 Average day rate: £261

It might be the UK’s second biggest city, but pay rates in Birmingham are lagging behind other cities in the country. Birmingham paid big data professionals the lowest average salary of the cities featured here, paying £41,000. The city also paid the lowest average salaries for web developers, at £41,146. Brighton Average permanent IT salary: £36,930 Average day rate: £288

Some 7,458 people work in Brighton’s burgeoning digital sector, which has a strong focus on advertising and marketing, software and games development, and publishing. Mobile professionals commanded the highest salaries in the city (£54,409), followed by big data (£45,250) and cloud professionals (£43,269).

Manchester Average permanent IT salary: £36,790 Average day rate: £322

Manchester maintained its position as the top-hiring city outside of London with 2,323 roles advertised between April and June 2015. IT security professionals commanded the highest salaries in the city (£46,092), followed by big data (£43,268) and cloud professionals (£38,630).

Newcastle Upon Tyne Average permanent IT salary: £35,587 Average day rate: £463

The number of contractor roles advertised doubled in Newcastle Upon Tyne during the second quarter of 2015. While the town appears to pay the highest average contractor day rates outside of London, these figures have been skewed by a small number of senior-level positions offering higher than average rates in a bid to attract the best talent away from the capital.

*Hiring trends and salary information provided by Experis Tech Cities Job Watch Q2 2015 edition.

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