As job vacancies within STEM reached record levels in 2021, many candidates are looking at relocating around the UK in order to find a role that suits them. Money is pouring into STEM sectors, with the government using £23 million to boost skills and diversity in AI roles and the UK tech sector raising £29.4 million in 2021. Clearly the UK STEM industry is booming, and candidates are spoiled for choice in choosing a location to work. This blog will highlight key areas in the UK that offer the most to STEM candidates and show that London isn’t the only option when looking to relocate.
It comes as no surprise that England’s capital is a hotspot for jobs within STEM. The tech sector currently accounts for more than one in five jobs in London, with almost one third of tech businesses calling the capital home. Yet, tech roles make up over 11% of all vacancies in key London districts.
On top of the high percentage of roles available, London is quickly becoming renowned for the current influx of cryptocurrency roles and has cemented its place as a world leader in the sector with the second-highest number of roles in the world. As of April 2022, there are 954 cryptocurrency roles with the majority based in London as the digital trend reaches the UK. London has become a top choice for international tech firms to expand and has drawn more tech investment projects from America than any other worldwide city in the last five years. Recent data shows that London has attracted 251 tech investment projects – which have in turn created 9,000 new roles – and have surpassed other cities such as Singapore, which has drawn only 154 tech investment projects.
Other established tech companies that already have a presence within the UK have focused their efforts in London such as Google recently purchasing London’s Central Saint Giles building and expanding its current HQ. Overall, it is undeniable that London is a popular hub for STEM work and naturally tops the list of any tech giant wishing to expand, so perhaps it should also top the list of locations for STEM workers to relocate within the UK.
Candidates who are not as convinced of the hustle and bustle of London are flocking to Manchester as an alternative, with roles in the tech sector now accounting for 28% of the job market in Manchester. A total of 26,844 new tech roles were on offer in Manchester back in 2020, and the market has only been growing since then. With a lower population than London, candidates applying to STEM roles within Manchester feel they might have a better chance at securing a position, something that is sweetened with an average salary of £37.250 – 37.9% above the average salary in the city.
Manchester’s recent initiative with Enterprise City and Tech Nation is also drawing in STEM candidates with aims to establish the next generation of STEM game changers. In its first 12 months, the initiative supported 227 individuals across 44 businesses – creating 74 jobs in the process – and is now in its third year of intake. To learn more about the initiative, visiting Enterprise City’s page here.
The city also benefits from housing Media City with companies such as BBC, ITV and Ericsson requiring many tech specialists to assist them alongside a range of start-up tech firms in and around Manchester. The city also hosts two crucial NHS trusts that offer clinical trials that offers another variety of STEM work to candidates. It is clear that Manchester can provide STEM workers with a diverse choice of work and has created a reputation for itself as a leading city within the STEM world.
Edinburgh and Glasgow
Slightly further afield from London, Edinburgh and Scotland are seeing a dramatic increase in STEM role openings. In September 2021, the UK government released a report showcasing Scotland as a fast-growing hotspot in the tech sector, with 30% of available vacancies within the tech sector in Edinburgh – the highest amount in any UK city. Glasgow is hot on Edinburgh’s heels with 28% of the roles in the city being in tech. Similarly to Manchester, many STEM candidates may be looking for more bang for their buck when it comes to income versus cost of living – something they’ll definitely get in Glasgow as the government mentioned it as the third most attractive city in the UK when tech salary is compared to cost of living, a feature particularly attractive when compared to cities like London and Edinburgh.
Focusing on Edinburgh, the London-based KultraLab, a behavioural science and tech specialist, are preparing to open up an Edinburgh hub, having received more than £2 million from investment firms to open the new facility which will generate new roles within STEM. Other corporations having a long-standing history in Edinburgh and are continuously evolving and, in turn, offering more roles, with companies such as Skyscanner, Amazon and Nationwide having flagship offices in Edinburgh which makes it such an attractive location for STEM candidates.
Glasgow isn’t far behind Edinburgh’s incredible STEM culture thanks to the recent development of Bruntwood SciTech acquiring Glasgow’s Met Tower in order to offer it as a tech hub for spinouts and start-ups. Bruntwood Sci Tech, who focus on developing the science and tech sectors, plan to invest £30 million into the building and intend to generate over 40,000 jobs over the next ten years. Similarly, Scott Logic, who provide a range of tech services to organisations like the Scottish Government and NatWest, have recently opened an office in Glasgow in order to utilise the vibrant tech community and wealth of talent within the city.
Recently named as the best city in the UK for women seeking jobs in tech, Cambridge is truly an up and coming location for candidates within STEM. Alongside offering candidates an excellent quality of life and progress on the gender pay gap, Cambridge also has some of the highest salaries in the UK with an average of £62,500. Unlike the previous mentioned cities, however, Cambridge’s smaller population means that there are fewer job roles within STEM on offer with 1,500 current vacancies.
The lack of vacancies in Cambridge may soon change as STEM corporations are noticing the draw of Cambridge and opening up shop. The CleanTech company Levidian is headquartered in Cambridge and recently signed a £700m export deal which will create 100 new jobs in Cambridge. Apple is also embracing Cambridge as they opened a research office in March 2022 with capacity for 900 employees – a move that promises more STEM roles in the city.
Most notably, the city is home to the world-famous University of Cambridge – currently ranked third in the world university rankings – which is one attractive feature due to the scientific discoveries made at the university. Cambridge also houses Cambridge Science Park, the oldest science park in the UK, that is a hub for STEM businesses with over 7500 employees from over 100 companies.
Considering relocating for your role? Whether you want a change in scenery, less commuting times, or a hybrid working situation in a high-growth tech community, Lorien works with clients all over the UK – including the locations mentioned above. For more candidate advice and insights click here or view all Lorien roles within STEM to find the right location for you.