Survey shows Preston becoming tech hub after fastest growth in IT-related jobs in the country

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Preston is the fastest-growing UK city for tech jobs, a survey has revealed.

The number of IT-related roles in the city increasing by 53 per cent between 2018 and 2020 according to data analysed by job search engine Adzuna for the Digital Economy Council and Tech Nation.

Three years ago, tech jobs made up 11 per cent of all available roles there, however this has since increased to 17 per cent in 2020, with over 2,000 IT-related job vacancies in Preston throughout 2020.

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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 to the median salary for all roles which is £23,156.

Dr George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech NationDr George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation
Dr George Windsor, Head of Insights at Tech Nation

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. This government is determined to level up opportunity across the country and support people right with the skills and knowledge they need so we can build back better from the pandemic.”

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. The highest-paid tech jobs include systems engineers at £67,548.

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Design engineers’ average was £61,071 and project managers’ £44,917, an uplift of 25 per cent since last year.

Preston has seen the fastest growth in demand for tech skills in the UKPreston has seen the fastest growth in demand for tech skills in the UK
Preston has seen the fastest growth in demand for tech skills in the UK

Michael Lough, managing director at Preston-based award winning software business Blue Wren, said the firm has seen growth in the sector locally.

He said: “Having started our software business in Preston more than 11 years ago we have witnessed a recent increase in demand for technology skills across all business sectors.

“We are proud to be a part of a regional success story and look forward to a vibrant and dynamic future in the city.”

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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.

Michael Lough of Blue Wren in PrestonMichael Lough of Blue Wren in Preston
Michael Lough of Blue Wren 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.”

The UK government is investing heavily into ensuring people across the country have the skills they need to succeed in the digital sector as part of a £2.5bn National Skills Fund. This includes £43m to expand Skills Bootcamps.

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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.”

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