When you think of digital talent in the United Kingdom, the chances are that London springs to mind. Of course, the capital is jam-packed with both start-ups and established creative agencies offering award-winning digital marketing services, but London’s not the only place where tech is booming. Manchester is fast becoming the place for digital talent.
While we're not saying that Manchester was without digital talent before 2011, it was only when the BBC moved into its new premises at MediaCityUK that the city became a real contender in the digital tech sphere. The broadcaster spent more than £200 million on the relocation, moving 2,000 of its most talented programme-makers, news journalists and TV presenters to Salford, driving up the number of digital and technology jobs in the area and creating space for other digital giants to take advantage of the MediaCityUK facilities.
The ‘north shoring' trend wasn't exclusive to the BBC. ITV Granada, too, came to the city in 2013 and brought its world-famous Coronation Street studios. Satellite Information Services and the University of Salford also made its home in MediaCityUK, while the Greater Manchester area also saw significant investment in technology – so much so, that, in 2012, proposals for the high-speed train network HS2 were approved, and lines between Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham will open by 2033.
Alongside the announcements of the government's Northern Powerhouse and Tech North, a new tech hub for the North of England, some of the country's biggest brands relocated or expanded in Manchester in the early 2010s. Money Supermarket moved to the city to take advantage of the top digital talent, increasing its investment in mobile and web development. As Tech North HQ writes, Money Supermarket became just one of the three unicorns – that is, companies that are valued at more than a billion dollars – in the city, with The Hut Group and Autotrader also proving successful. Other standout companies include AO.com, Boohoo.com, while Bet365, Laterooms.com and Missguided.com also saw growth.
It’s little wonder, then, that the city is expected to outperform Paris and Berlin in the tech sphere over the next five years, or that 23,000 new digital jobs will be created over the next decade in the City. Perhaps this is because Manchester knows how to produce, or at least attract, the country’s top talent. As statistics from Manchester Digital show, one in five professionals from the city’s digital sector have relocated from the capital city because of increased opportunities, cheaper costs of living or to be closer to friends and family.
The number of direct roles in the technology sector in Manchester now stands at 52,000, which makes it the second biggest city for technology after London. When you add in the number of people who work in the wider digital industry, the figure rises to 85,000. And, it’s not just multinational companies attracting talent – Manchurians have an entrepreneurial spirit, with almost two thousand new businesses created in the last twelve months alone. As the technology sector continues to exceed (The Telegraph reports that it's grown 32% in the last four years, accounting for more than a million and a half jobs across the United Kingdom and generating more than £161billion to the British economy), it's not unlikely that Manchester will outstrip the capital and become the country's biggest digital hub at some point in the future.
Following the success of our new Bristol office, Climb Online is pleased to announce that we'll be opening another office in Manchester this May, bringing us closer to the top digital talent that the North has to offer. Stay up to date with the latest from our new Manchester location on social media, or get in touch with a member of the team today to find out how we can help you with pay-per-click advertising, social media marketing and SEO.