London has a fight on its hands as other ‘tech cities', such as Cambridge, Bristol and Edinburgh, gain ground in hiring people with digital skills, according to IT hiring trends.
Britain's capital has long been responsible for sucking up the top talent from a range of industries, but figures reported in the latest quarterly Tech Cities Job Watch from resourcing firm Experis showed that the trend could change in the technology sector.
Over 52,000 IT jobs were advertised across the UK between July and September 2015, but the number being advertised in London dropped by eight percent to 35,610, apparently in line with summer trends as hiring slows with more people on holiday.
But cities to the North, such as Manchester and Leeds, posted more roles for the same period, while Glasgow advertised double the number of permanent IT roles than in the previous quarter.
Martin Ewings, SMB director at Experis, told V3 that London still attracts significant numbers of applicants for technology jobs, and offers higher salaries, but no longer has a strangle hold on the market.
"London will continue to be the hub for technology skills by the very nature of what it is. But what we're seeing is a drive by organisations to make cost savings by moving part of their organisation out of London. We've seen big organisations move their IT hubs to the likes of Leeds," he said.
"What we're seeing now is there's a genuine alternative to working in London. That won't suit everybody, but for those people who are interested in it, there is an appetite and an opportunity for them to find cutting-edge work out of the city."
This trend is causing more jobs to become available in the technology sector beyond the M25 and the attractions of the London's Tech City.
The development of more technology clusters beyond London, alongside the government's investment in creating the ‘Northern Powerhouse' of cities, have also gone some way to fuel the number of technology jobs being advertised in the regions.
Offering another way
Everyone from literary geniuses, poets to those attracted by bright lights have extolled the virtues of London, but Ewings said that other cities are attracting talent by offering an alternative lifestyle with lower prices and less crowded transport.
"Don't try and compete with London. If someone wants to work in the capital and has those technology-based skills they are going to work in London because there's more money there and they see it as great opportunity. But that doesn't fit every profile of people who want to get involved in digital and IT," he said.
Ewings noted that many people looking for IT jobs are recent graduates who are more flexible and want to work on projects that excite and offer a good work-life balance as opposed to just a healthy salary.
"We recently did some work with an organisation in south Wales, where we said to them don't try and compete with what London offers, try and offer an alternative to London. So we very much played up the surfing culture and we played up the work-life balance," he said.
"There is a genuine population of emerging technology specialists who actually want to move away from London and find work in these [other] tech cities."
Workplace flexibility, easy commuter routes, and remote working highlight other cities as attractive places for technology workers.
London is not likely to lose its appeal to new graduates or metropolis-loving workers, but Tech Cities Job Watch demonstrates that there are jobs in the technology world beyond the capital.
However, all the tech cities will still need to address the overarching problem of a lack of digital skills in the UK, which recently prompted the creation of the Tech Nation Visa to find over 200 overseas experts to plug the UK's skills gap.
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