Manchester tech investment soars to $687.6m, second to London

By Robert Scammell

Manchester has become the second most attractive UK city for tech investment, leapfrogging Cambridge and scooping $687.6m in venture capital in 2019.

That figure is up from $199.1m in 2018 – a 245% year-on-year increase – according to data compiled by job search engine Adzuna and entrepreneur network Tech Nation.

Digital tech firms in Manchester employed more than 100,000 people in 2019, according to the Office for National Statistics.

Yet there are signs that Manchester VC tech investment is driving up demand for even more tech talent in the area. Across the city there are currently 3,690 IT vacancies, with 4,235 IT job openings listed across Greater Manchester.

Software developers are the most in-demand jobs in Manchester. They are followed by .NET developers and front-end developers.

The flow of venture capital into Manchester tech companies has driven up average salaries for IT workers in the region. Adzuna figures put the average IT salary in Manchester at £49,765, while the average salary for all jobs in Manchester stands at £37,197.

The best-paid roles in Manchester are data architects, which have an average salary of £80,567 – up 17.5% from 2018 to 2019.

Andrew Hunter, co-founder, Adzuna, said: “We’re seeing demand for tech jobs surging across Manchester with high salary offers to entice skilled workers from across the UK. As the country looks to move forward from Covid-19, attracting the right talent will become even more competitive.”

The companies attracting Manchester tech investment

Fuelling this growth in Manchester tech investment and IT salaries are a slew of tech unicorns –startups with a valuation of more than $1bn.

In September Manchester-based e-commerce company The Hut Group listed on the London Stock Exchange with a valuation of $5.8bn.

UK Digital Minister Caroline Dinenage said: “Manchester’s tech star has been rising for the past few years and the recent success of The Hut Group has helped to cement the city’s reputation as an industry hub to rival the capital.

“These new figures show it is creating new jobs and opportunities, and I am delighted that some of the country’s leading tech talent are coming together to discuss how we can help further strengthen the UK’s reputation as Europe’s leading tech player.”

Other companies, such as Auto Trader UK and On The Beach Holidays, have helped to attract investment and tech talent to the region.

Tech Nation’s data, which is being released alongside a series of roundtables with investors and tech industry figures and passed on to the UK government, points towards UK tech investment becoming less concentrated in London.

Figures released at yesterday’s roundtable revealed that Cambridge tech salaries are now among the highest in the UK.

The coronavirus pandemic has seen many tech firms consider distributed workforces with offices located outside of London to save on rent.

Safe Hammad, CTO & co-founder at Manchester-based startup Arctic Shores, said: “Over the last 10 years, Manchester has transformed into a thriving technology hub attracting businesses and talent alike, and is now home to several prominent tech success stories.

“Arctic Shores chose to headquarter in Manchester to take advantage of great access to talent, and for Manchester’s unwavering “can do” attitude that’s so important for businesses in their early stages of growth.”


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