As Manchester’s digital and tech sector thrives, competition between the north and south is fierce with experts predicting that Manchester will soon overtake London as the country's top digital tech hub. For the second year in a row, Manchester - one of the major players in the Northern Powerhouse - was voted the most liveable city in the UK by the Economist Intelligence Unit. As the cost of living in London increase, professionals are choosing to relocate elsewhere and with the huge potential the northern city provides, it’s easy to see why they’re choosing Manchester.
Statistics from #RelocateMCR report by Manchester Digital have revealed that after surveying 300 professionals working in the city’s digital sector, one in five had relocated from London. Of these respondents, 77 per cent viewed the city as a ‘digital hub’.
Today, the digital and tech industry is worth £3.1 billion to the economy, according to Manchester Digital. Although the city’s revolution began roughly a decade ago, it has been in the last five years specifically that the city has been recognised for its efforts both in the UK and Europe.
One of the most well known developments in this time was perhaps the BBC’s relocation to Salford Quays and the creation of Media City which signalled the start of the ‘northshoring’ trend. Here, the BBC signed a 20 year contract and spent around £200 million relocating to the site which drove the number of digital jobs tremendously. In addition to this, Sainsbury’s is also creating another 150 new digital and technology jobs in Manchester as it looks to sharpen its digital expertise.
In 2012, proposals for HS2 were announced and, according to the BBC, construction for the Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds route will begin in 2020 and is due to be completed by 2033 at the latest.
Following this, in 2014, government plans for a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ were revealed at the same time the creation of ‘Tech North’ (a new tech hub for the North of England) was announced. Moneysupermarket have also taken the decision to move their operations to Manchester as they hope to take advantage of the digital talent in the city, focusing on mobile and website product development.
Standard of living
When surveyed by Manchester Digital, 80 per cent of those working in Manchester stated that they intended on staying in the city mid-term. But it’s not just the thriving digital and tech sector that is attracting workers.
Respondents listed a number of reasons as to why they enjoyed living in the north which included: a good standard of living, money going further than it would in London, a good food and drink scene, Manchester having a good buzz and people in the city being generally more friendly.
The report also looked at the average salaries for those working in Manchester and found an increase in pay for digital and tech roles in recent years as businesses compete for staff amidst the current skills shortage.
Because of this, reports Manchester Digital, the gap between pay rates in London and Manchester has closed despite the lower cost of living in the latter. It is believed that in the coming years, salaries will almost be matching those in the capital.
“Manchester has seen significant growth in the last couple of years in the digital and technology industries, this coupled with a global skills shortage means there is serious demand for highly skilled people to come and join our workforce,” explained Katie Gallagher, managing director at Manchester Digital.
“The quality of life and affordability of Manchester makes relocating here a compelling proposition for anyone looking to make their next career move. We launched RelocateMcr to help make the decision much easier by showcasing the opportunities here and also give an insight into the lifestyle.”
Manchester is the home to a selection of the most progressive technology companies in the world and the city’s potential shows no signs of slowing any time soon.