Employment rates in technology and digital in the United Kingdom remain high, and the tech industry is one of the strongest in the country. However, the cost of living crisis has led to a growing number of tech professionals seeking to relocate internally to cities that not only promise career growth but also offer a better quality of life. In this article, we’ll explore the evolving landscape of job opportunities for tech professionals in the UK.
The Best UK Cities for Tech Jobs in 2024
Job seekers are increasingly exploring opportunities beyond the traditional tech hubs, considering alternative options, and looking for a better balance between career opportunities, quality of life, and living costs.
1. London: The Powerhouse with a Price Tag
The city stands tall as a global tech powerhouse, attracting top talent worldwide. However, the city’s success comes with a caveat—the skyrocketing cost of living. As tech professionals seek a balance between job growth, career stability and financial sustainability, many are exploring alternative cities with more reasonable living expenses.
London boasts a vibrant tech ecosystem, housing major global players in tech, such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon. Beyond these giants, the city nurtures a thriving community of innovative startups, from fintech disruptors to cutting-edge Artificial Intelligence companies. Many London-based companies offer remote work, and the median tech wage in global tech firms is above those provided outside of London.
Competition for IT candidates is fierce, though. The city remains a top destination for international expats. London’s universities play a crucial role in shaping the city’s tech landscape and contribute to a pool of skilled graduates, ensuring a steady influx of fresh talent into the tech industry. The diversity of London’s tech landscape provides ample opportunities for professionals to engage with groundbreaking projects.
2. Manchester: The Northern Tech Gem
Manchester, a “Northern gem”, offers tech professionals a unique blend of career opportunities and a more affordable lifestyle. Although housing costs have increased recently, Manchester can boast a vibrant tech scene and better work-life balance than London, making it an attractive option for those seeking professional and personal fulfilment.
Even before the pandemic arrived, we registered a trend of professionals moving away from London for better living conditions. In recent years, this trend has accelerated, with a notable increase in the internal mobility of professionals moving away from the bustling streets of London to Greater Manchester.
Manchester is home to a dynamic array of tech companies and startups. The number of IT jobs keeps growing year after year. The city offers diverse opportunities for tech enthusiasts, from global players to innovative startups. This rich ecosystem ensures that Manchester remains a hub of innovation and growth.
3. Leeds: The Emerging Tech Hub
Leeds, an emerging tech hub, offers a fantastic work-life balance and flexible work arrangements. Tech professionals in Leeds benefit from a supportive environment that values their well-being, contributing to a positive and sustainable work culture.
Local universities in Leeds, such as the University of Leeds and Leeds Beckett University, play a pivotal role in shaping tech talent. By fostering collaborations between academia and industry, these institutions ensure that IT graduates are well-equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in the IT sector.
There are attractive upcoming opportunities for IT professionals in Leeds. The fastest-growing sectors here are digital health, fintech, and cybersecurity. The city’s commitment to innovation and supportive ecosystem create a fertile ground for tech startups and those looking for technology jobs in West Yorkshire.
4. Liverpool: Tech by the Mersey
Liverpool is fast becoming a rising star in the tech world. The city’s transformation into a tech destination is marked by its vibrant community and a supportive ecosystem that nurtures innovation and growth. Liverpool’s evolving startup scene contributes to the city’s tech appeal and provides exciting opportunities for those looking to work in tech.
Beyond career prospects, Liverpool offers attractive opportunities for tech professionals deciding on a new place to live and work. It’s one of the most appealing city hubs in the UK, with excellent connections to Manchester and Leeds. The city’s rich cultural heritage, waterfront attractions, a recently developed thriving city centre, and a welcoming community contribute to an overall lifestyle.
5. Bristol: A Southwest Tech Haven
Bristol, situated in the southwest, offers a compelling alternative to London’s high living costs. Take, for instance, average home prices. According to the ONS, the South West saw the most significant monthly price fall in 2023. Bristol is a more affordable option for IT professionals, allowing them to enjoy the benefits of a thriving city without breaking the bank.
As one of Europe’s top 20 performing tech clusters, Bristol’s tech community has a growing talent pool but less competition than larger cities in the UK. The University of Bristol and the University of the West of England have campuses and links with industries to produce skilled graduates in different IT and digital disciplines. However, there is a high demand for technically qualified professionals.
Bristol is home to noteworthy tech startups and a vibrant tech scene for innovative technology initiatives, such as The Bristol Technology Festival, which are vital in shaping Bristol’s reputation as a tech haven in the southwest.
Growing Internal Mobility in the UK in 2024
How can people afford to live in London? The million-dollar question! While many look for more affordable and safe areas to live around London with relatively short commutes to the city, many others seek opportunities in alternative places that balance career growth and a more sustainable lifestyle.
There is a notable trend in internal mobility among IT professionals, motivated by the rising costs of living crisis. This talent decentralisation will reshape the dynamics of the tech job market in the United Kingdom.
The Top 10 Cities in the UK with reasonable costs of living
Various factors come into play when discussing the cost of living, including housing, transportation, utilities, and general affordability. Here’s a list of the top ten cities in the UK focusing on reasonable living costs and excellent opportunities for tech professionals.
- 1. Greater Manchester
- 2. Birmingham
- 3. Leeds
- 4. Glasgow
- 5. Liverpool
- 6. Sheffield
- 7. Newcastle
- 8. Cardiff
- 9. Bristol
- 10. Edinburgh
This list balances career opportunities, quality of life, and living costs, but we hope we can give you options if you consider relocating for work.
Suppose you are an experienced IT professional and want to chat about your career options and the open tech jobs Adria is recruiting for and provide you with helpful advice on tech wages and company benefits. In that case, our team of recruitment consultants will be happy to assist you. Give us a call on 01625 874399.