Tech migrants 'looking beyond London'

More than half of foreign tech professionals thinking of relocating to the UK would consider choosing a city in the regions, rather than in London, according to a new survey.

The survey, conducted by technology recruitment firm Mason Frank International among more than 1,800 IT professionals across the world, found that 54 per cent of those prepared to relocate to the UK would look beyond the capital for work.Zoë Morris, president of the Frank Recruitment Group, said: “Given the challenges that the pandemic forced upon us, technology was the glue that kept us all connected. The great leap forward in digital transformation that the pandemic triggered means the need for technological skills has increased dramatically.“New tech jobs are being created at a rapid rate and these roles are no longer concentrated in the London area. As these regional tech hotspots continue to grow, they’ll bring massive benefits to their local areas, opening doors to new careers for so many people.“Clearly, these IT hubs are proving an increasing draw for international professionals too, which will help the country attract the best, most pioneering talent from around the world. Diversifying the great opportunities the tech industry offers will go a long way to closing the IT skills gap we’re currently facing.”According to the Business Up North website, the survey has highlighted the growing attraction of emerging tech hubs outside of SE England, "demonstrating that London is no longer the default choice for tech talent seeking new challenges".The website added: "There are many reasons behind the dissemination of the UK’s technological power, with the increasingly prohibitive cost of living and doing business in London proving a key factor."A growing number of established businesses such as the BBC, KPMG, HSBC, Xplor, and Burberry have all opted to open major locations in the North in recent years.The region has also given rise to many thriving born-and-bred tech businesses—to date, 12 technology companies founded in the North have achieved unicorn status."The report also pointed out that, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, the surge in remote working was "challenging" London's status as the epicentre of UK tech."As reliance on the physical office wanes, many startups have scaled back, or entirely given up, their London real estate in favour of dispersed workforces, with others opting to set up cheaper HQs elsewhere."

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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