Tech sector boomed outside London in 2018 amid record job openings

The UK tech sector has boomed outside London, with new research highlighting record job openings in the sector across the country.

In 2018, more than 1.7 million digital technology job openings were listed across the UK, driven by growth in new tech hubs nationwide, according to research for the Government’s Digital Economy Council by Tech Nation.

The research showed that growth in the sector means that there are now five UK cities where more than 10% of residents are employed in the digital tech sector – Oxford, Cambridge, Reading, Belfast and Newcastle.

Belfast reported the highest growth in digital job advertisements in the UK, as the sector continues to grow outside the capital.

Outside London, the cities with the most tech openings were Manchester, where digital commerce and marketing is strong, with 164,000, and Leeds, with 88,000 jobs.

The cities outside London with the largest number of people employed in the tech sector were Manchester, Reading, Belfast, Birmingham and Cambridge.

In Cambridge, 50% of the working population are now employed in the digital tech sector, while 33% of people are employed in the sector in Reading, according to the new research.

The report said that the UK’s fastest-growing tech clusters, particularly Edinburgh, Glasgow and Belfast, were competing with London and the South East for highly skilled workers, and providing them with significantly higher than the average local salary.

Average digital tech salaries in Belfast are 17.6% higher than the overall city average, while roles in Edinburgh in the sector pay about 14.8% higher than the city average, the report said.

Digital secretary Jeremy Wright said: “We are one of the best places in the world to start and grow a tech business and this new data shows the success is bringing good jobs and helping spread prosperity across the country.

“We are determined to seize the future opportunities for technology to improve people’s lives by investing heavily to boost the nation’s digital skills.”

George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, said: “With over 2.1 million people working in digital technology in 2018, the tech economy is bigger than sectors like hospitality and construction.

“However, increasingly, those lines are getting blurred, with technology jobs crossing over into the mainstream sectors like financial services and health, helping them to evolve and stay competitive and productive.”