IMMIGRAM

UK tech hubs. What cities should you have on your radar?

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UK tech hubs


27 DEC 2021
Digital innovation has never been more integral to the UK and wider global economy, so Immigram prepared a list of 8 UK tech hubs you should pay attention to.


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Major UK cities are starting to make a name for themselves when it comes to showing their digital credentials. Undoubtedly, London remains a "critical node" in the UK tech ecosystem, but there are other less obvious locations with emerging innovations such as IoT (Internet of Things), VR (Virtual Reality) and AI (Artificial Intelligence).
Manchester
Manchester is named as Europe's fastest-growing digital city. It is also the top choice outside of London for technology workers to job-hunt.
It welcomes many investors from London and abroad. Tech firms secured a nearly tenfold increase in investment from £48 million in 2018 to £519 million in 2020, according to data by Adzuna and Tech Nation.
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £47,500.
It is also home to MediaCityUK, which encompasses 250 media and digital businesses like BBC, Kellog's and ITV. In 2020, MediaCityUK was named the first "connected neighborhood" in Europe and the second in the world after New York City. The area provides "frictionless connectivity" across the whole estate with high-speed outdoor Wi-Fi.
Some of the hasty tech start-ups and companies here are guided design platform DigitalBridge, delivery management platform Sorted Group and e-commerce company The Hut Group.
Edinburgh
Scotland's capital remains not only one of the UK's most prominent financial centres, but also one of the country's biggest tech hubs. It has the highest numbers of verified startups (~2.5k) outside of London and the South East.
Scottish startups raised £345 million in venture capital funding, according to TechNation.
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £57,500.
Startups and fast-growing companies here include biotech firm Roslin Technologies, metasearch engine and travel agency Skyscanner and Zumo, cryptocurrency wallet and payments platform.
Edinburgh is also a home to a number of top educational institutes like the University of Edinburgh and Edinburgh Napier University and more than 150 research facilities.
Bristol
Bristol is the third most-attractive city in the UK for funding behind London and Manchester. Digital companies here raised £240 million in 2019 and £312 million in 2020.
The Bristol Robotics Lab (BRL) is the largest in Europe. It hosts initiatives such as the Autonomous Robot Evolution (ARE) project.
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £47,500.
Bristol has long been considered a trailblazer in the development of robotics and autonomous vehicles.
The city of Bristol is home to 430 tech firms including such big names as Nokia, Sony, Amazon, Vodafone and BT.
Birmingham
Birmingham is the second-ranked city for cost of living versus salary for tech roles, according to TechNation.
The city is also home to ~1k startups, which are transforming industries such as ed-tech, fintech and manufacturing.
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £47,500.
There was a 130% increase in the number of tech start-ups in the city between 2011 and 2016. This helped to put the city of Birmingham firmly on the tech map.
Birmingham Tech Week and Silicon Canal are just two of the initiatives that help support the local tech ecosystem.
Leeds
Leeds is another fastest emerging UK's tech hub. The city not only attracts new firms but it is also home to some big tech companies like NHS England, Rockstar Games, NHS Digital and the Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Networks.
The city of Leeds accounts for around a fifth of all the UK's digital health jobs, with the surrounding regions home to 63% of all health-tech ecosystem businesses, according to the Local Enterprise Partnership.
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £52,500.
Leeds City Council encourages innovative projects and the local universities have open tech labs.
In 2019, its digital sector contributed £6.6 billion to the city economy and employed more than 100k people
Belfast
TechNation named Belfast a tech hub to watch due to its high proportion of early-stage companies.
The Northern Irish capital is home to more than 1.2k tech firms which include indigenous projects as well as large US tech companies.
Among the Belfast-based companies to announce significant fund-raises this year are platform focused on improving neuroscience clinical trials Cumulus Neuroscience (raised £6 million in VC) and elite sports management platform Kariostech (raised £1.5 million in seed funding).
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £57,500.
Basingstoke
TechNation named Basingstoke the fourth-best place for tech investment in the UK with total deals worth £425 million between 2015 and 2018.
Some of the companies here include tech giants like IBM, Sony Professional Solutions and IQVIA.
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £47,500.
Over the last few years the city of Basingstoke has run multiple entrepreneur training programmes with more than 200 start-up businesses attending. It is a programme that has brought many into the town.
The city was set to be one of 2021's big tech hub winners, being just 31 km away from London.
Newbury
The city of Newbury has a digital tech density 15 times higher than anywhere in the UK, according to TechNation.
The tech town is a home to the UK headquarters for both Micro Focus and Vodafone, it also hosts Microsoft, Huawei and Metro Bank. Vodafone employs so many people in the local economy that the company provides free shuttle transport to and from its main campus.
Average digital/tech salary, according to Totaljobs, is £47,500.
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