Less than an hour from London by train, the cosmopolitan city of Brighton & Hove boasts a vibrant arts and cultural scene as well as enviable natural attractions, including the beach and South Downs National Park – not to mention a thriving economy.
In fact, business here is booming. Brighton ranked fourth in the UK (out of 64 cities) for the number of business start-ups per 10k population – the highest number per capita outside London – and fourth for net jobs growth between 2004-2014, according to a recent Centre for Cities report.
If you’re looking for jobs in Brighton & Hove, here are just some of the opportunities available.
The creative, digital and IT sector
Once known as London-by-sea, Brighton has grown to become one of the UK’s most important technology clusters, with a distinctive focus on creative, digital and gaming. It’s said that many of Brighton’s digital entrepreneurs have a background in the humanities and arts, and it’s this fusion of creative arts, professional qualifications and IT that makes the city’s tech cluster so unique.
‘Brighton is home to one of the highest proportions of creative SMEs – in fact the digital and creative sector contributes £1billion a year to the local economy. For those who are interested in working for smaller entrepreneurial-led businesses, Brighton is a great place to be,’ says Ann Swain, Chief Executive of The Association of Professional Staffing Companies.
The figures are certainly impressive. Brighton saw a 91% increase in the number of new digital companies incorporated between 2010 and 2013, and boasts the highest density of digital companies of any UK region. The sector has seen double-digit employment growth in recent years – contributing 2,279 new jobs between 2010-2013m – and is worth an estimated £713m to the economy.
No wonder then, that Brighton’s Economic Strategy 2013–2018 considers the creative, digital and IT sector to be one of the most important to the city’s future growth.
Supported by organisations like Wired Sussex and freelance networks such as the Brighton Farm, companies are spread across the city, particularly in the North and South lanes, with co-working hubs in Brighton Media Centre and The Skiff, the biggest co-working space south of London.
Companies include UX consultancy Clearleft, Spannerworks, a Brighton search firm bought by US marketeers iCrossing, social media monitors Brandwatch, software developers Bright Interactive and project website/application specialists Cogapp. The city is also home to a growing games community, with firms including Gamer Network, Boss Alien, Studio Gobo, Candy Labs (part of Mind Candy) and Shortround Games.
Culture, leisure and tourism
Aside from digital technology, Brighton’s Economic Strategy views the culture, leisure and tourism sector as one of the most important to the city’s future economic growth.
Brighton attracts 8.5 million visitors each year, and more foreign tourists visited the East Sussex city than any other seaside resort in 2015, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Visitors come for more than just a long weekend or to experience the Brighton Festival each year. The city remains popular on the annual party political conference scene and is also a major European business conference destination. In addition, Brighton’s many language schools, together with overseas students at the two universities, bring significant education tourism. International education and languages have been estimated to be worth around £180m to the city.
The East Sussex city is a haven for culture-lovers. A much higher proportion of Brighton’s GVA* comes from art and cultural services compared to the rest of the UK. Around 1.4 per cent of GVA in the city (£76,160,000) comes from these services, compared to 0.4 per cent nationally.
Health and social care
It’s not just tech and tourism that’s booming in Brighton. Two out of five (39%) people working in the city are employed in either retail (19,167 people, 14%), health and social work (18,799 people, 13%), or education (17,332 people, 12%).
In terms of job vacancies, there are many opportunities for those working in health and social care.
Ann says: ‘Health and social care is one of the largest industry sectors in East Sussex – and it’s also one that suffers from acute skill shortages meaning plenty of opportunities for those with healthcare experience.’
The financial services industry has fared well in Brighton compared to other areas of the UK and the city’s largest private-sector employer, American Express (which has had its European headquarters here since 1977) recently confirmed its commitment to the city with the construction of new offices.
The city and wider economic area has also seen an upturn in advanced manufacturing and environmental industries. The University of Brighton recently secured a £6m programme of support services for green industries, with a target to create 250 jobs by 2018.
The other main sector offering what will become ongoing job opportunities is that of construction and infrastructure.
Ann says: ‘The building of the British Airways i360 – a tower that provides stunning views across Brighton is just the start of plans which will transform Brighton’s seafront. Those plans include new homes, a conference centre, leisure facilities and tourist attractions.’
Whether you’re coming to Brighton for business, work, study or pleasure, the city looks set to enjoy continued success for many years to come.
*GVA. Gross value Add is a measure of the value of goods and services produced in an area on a per person basis.
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