Preston UK’s fastest growing tech hub with 53% increase in digital tech roles since 2018

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Preston is the fastest-growing UK city for tech jobs, with the number of IT-related roles in the city increasing by 53% between 2018 and 2020, according to data analysed by smarter job search engine Adzuna for the Digital Economy Council and industry championTech Nation.

Three years ago tech jobs made up 11% of all available roles in the city, however, this has since increased to 17% in 2020, with more than 2,000 IT-related job vacancies in Preston throughout 2020.

This increase in demand for skilled tech workers has also led to an increase in advertised salaries. The median digital tech salary in Preston is now £33,500, up from £32,500 in 2018, and compared with the median salary across all roles which is £23,156.

The proportion of advertised digital tech roles across all UK cities has been increasing year on year, up from 19% in 2018 to 23% in 2020.

This uplift in available roles isn’t just confined to the tech industry, too – open job opportunities in the North West have been increasing 12% month on month throughout 2021 to 106,197 in June.

Digital Secretary, Nadine Dorries, said: “I’m delighted to see Preston has become a hotbed for tech with an explosion of demand for developers and systems engineers across the city.”

Since the COVID-19 pandemic started in 2020, there has been an increase in companies doubling down on hiring IT talent to facilitate the overwhelming demand for digital services, and in Preston, it’s no different. The main employers hiring for IT workers in Preston include the NHS, BAE Systems and IBM, all companies which require specialist staff to power their work and services across the UK and beyond.

Across the city, the highest paid tech jobs include systems engineers, which are responsible for assessing systems and providing solutions to any problems that arise and have an average advertised salary of £67,548.

Design engineers, which use software to develop,test and improve manufacturing processes and product designs, also have a higher-than-average advertised salary of £61,071.

It’s not just technical talent that can thrive in Preston’s tech sector. Non-technical staff, such as project managers which are important for the delivery of tech services and products, are also in demand in the city. Project managers can command a higher salary than the median paid in the city, with the average advertised salary of £44,917, an uplift of 25% since last year.

Software developers are consistently one of the most in-demand roles from companies across the whole of the industry. In Preston, there have been 577 job opportunities for software developers this year, the top IT-related job in the city.

A junior developer can command a salary of around £27,500, which increases to £55,000 for a more senior position. The main skills employees look for in software developers include mathematical aptitude, problem solving skills, programming languages, accuracy and attention to detail.

There is an increasing demand for senior level employees across all areas of tech. For instance, 89% of available roles for IT system architects are for senior positions across the UK.

System architects divide large and complex computer systems to fulfill requirements and often have higher design responsibilities than software developers, with key skills in demand including architecture, data management, and experience with Amazon Web Services (AWS). As this work is so critical to organisations, the median advertised salary for a system architect starts at £37,500 for a junior position and rises to £70,000 for a senior role. Systems architects are one of the top 20 IT jobs in Preston.

Dr George Windsor, head of insights at Tech Nation, said: “Preston demonstrates how the UK tech industry is maturing beyond the concentration of jobs and companies in the South East and London to more cities across the country.

“It’s interesting to see how demand for IT roles has jumped so much over the past few years in Preston, with large infrastructure companies, in particular, looking for talent.”

Andrew Hunter, co-founder of Adzuna, said: “Preston is a clear example of the power of technology, and that you don’t have to live in a capital city or even a major city to have a dynamic and exciting career. With more IT-related opportunities than ever before, software developers and project managers alike are very much in demand in Preston.”