Which Cities and Jobs in the UK Offer the Highest IT Salaries?

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Key Takeaways: Which Cities and Jobs in the UK Offer the Highest IT Salaries?

IT salaries in the UK can differ a lot depending on your exact role and your location. Here’s what our research points out:

  • London continues to offer the highest tech salaries in the UK, but other cities are closing the gap.
  • The annual median salary for tech professionals based in London is £70,000 in 2022.
  • Edinburgh offers the highest IT salaries outside of the capital, with a 2022 median of around £58,711.
  • Of the UK cities analysed, Manchester has seen the biggest jump in tech and IT salaries since 2018.
  • The average annual pay for full-time workers in the UK has roughly doubled in the past two decades. Meanwhile, the average earnings for tech and IT workers in Edinburgh have seen similar growth in just two years.

Read our full report below.

It’s long been the case that employees in the south of the UK tend to make more than their counterparts in Northern England, Northern Ireland, Wales, and Scotland. However, remote work is making higher salaries more attainable to professionals living outside of commuting distance to London.

According to data gathered by KPMG and reported on by Consultancy.uk, global events have driven the IT sector to be the fastest-growing industry at the beginning of 2022. To this end, we decided to take a deep dive into this industry and understand exactly what kind of salaries you can expect from a white-collar role in IT and tech within the United Kingdom.

We’ve gathered data from a range of publicly available sources in the UK, which we’ll list later on. Below, we’ll run you through the UK cities with the highest pay in tech and IT jobs, the fastest-growing IT salaries in the UK, and the cities and counties with the most IT jobs. We’ve also rounded up plenty of other handy facts and stats on the UK tech scene.

UK Cities With the Highest Pay in Tech and IT

In the last half-decade, the number of tech vacancies in the UK has exploded from around 85,000 in 2016 to around 182,000 in 2022. In fact, roughly half of these positions were created since the beginning of 2021! However, even though remote work is becoming more popular among companies small and large, your location in the UK can still influence your salary.

Below, you’ll find the average full-time salary paid to tech and IT professionals in the United Kingdom in 2018 and 2022 (to date). We sorted them according to the percentage increase during this period, with the cities with the fastest-growing salaries at the top.

Infographic showing which cities pay most for tech jobs in the UK

While increasing numbers of UK workers are leaving London for greener pastures, quite literally, the data shows that London still offers the best salaries in tech within the UK. Of course, it hasn’t been long since remote working policies became commonplace, so we could see these figures level out with other UK cities as time goes on.

Already, our research shows that there are multiple cities where the average IT salary is growing fast, with Manchester (49.8%), Sheffield (47.7%), and Leeds (43.2%) ranking at the very top. Meanwhile, London takes in the 11th place with its 30.2% increase since 2018.

Elsewhere, Manchester continues to be one of the best places for IT and tech professionals to earn a top salary. In fact, some believe Edinburgh could become the next big tech scene in the UK alongside Manchester. The city was even ranked within the top five in a ranking of 288 of the most innovative cities around the world. This is in addition to the fact that some major companies such as Skyscanner are already headquartered in Scotland. Coupled with the record levels of investment into Scottish start-ups that were seen in 2021, we could well see Edinburgh’s tech salaries starting to compete with the capital.

Which IT Jobs Have the Fastest-Growing Salaries?

As demand increases for specific roles, salaries are rapidly increasing too. This is particularly evident for Software Developers, with their average salary rising from around £39,000 p/a in 2018 to around £55,500 in 2022.

Front End Developers have seen similar benefits, with their average salary rising from approximately £35,000 in 2018 to nearly £60,000 in 2022. Again, Full Stack Developers can expect to earn around £20,000 more than they would’ve in 2018.

Infographic showing highest pay in tech in the UK per role

Data and analytics are another area in which demand is growing, as small and large businesses leverage big data to inform business strategy. Data Scientist roles have seen average growth from around £45,000 to around £55-60,000 in the past several years.

Other roles within business change and transformation, such as the Project Manager and Business Analyst, are seeing slower growth despite record demand. What’s more, the industry in which these openings are available can play a role in the kind of salaries available to tech and IT professionals. For example, Project Managers working in the energy industry were earning the highest salaries at the beginning of 2021 according to a study by APM.

Even when focusing on different roles within the tech industry, getting the highest salaries still depends on your location within the United Kingdom. At the end of 2021, the average software developer could expect to make around £40,000 in a Newcastle-based role. At the same time, software developers based in London could expect to be paid around £66,000 p/a, while those based in Manchester were making approximately £45,000.

Do IT and tech professionals earn more than average in the UK?

Let’s compare the average UK tech salary with the overall UK average salary for full-time employees. In 2021, Statista highlighted how the median annual earnings for a full-time employee in the UK were around £31,280. This is almost double the average UK salary in 1999, though still some way below the kinds of salaries offered in tech roles.

Take Manchester and Sheffield for example, which have seen nearly 50% salary growth for IT roles in just two years. The salaries paid to IT professionals are rising much faster than the national average. In fact, most of the roles we’ve analysed earn nearly twice as much as the UK national average today.

The gender pay gap in the United Kingdom

While salaries are rising, women in the UK tech scene are still making around 4% less salary than their male colleagues, according to Hired.com. The situation has improved since 2017, with this figure coming down from 5%, but the United Kingdom is lagging behind the United States, where the gender pay gap is just 3%.

Overall, the gender pay gap across all industries in the UK is around double the tech average, at 7.9% in April 2021 according to the ONS (Office for National Statistics).

Which Cities and Counties Have the Most IT Jobs?

Since IT roles are becoming more accessible to professionals in other cities, it helps to understand which cities and counties now offer the greatest number of opportunities in this industry.

When we look at the absolute numbers, London, Manchester, and Bristol have the most jobs in IT. Despite the explosion in remote working, London remains the number-one city for tech and IT openings, with around 171,250 industry-specific positions advertised in 2020, and 61,229 advertised at the time of writing in 2022.

Meanwhile, Manchester is the second-fastest-growing tech scene, advertising around 26,844 IT and tech openings in 2020 and around 7,199 in 2022 to date. With massive investments in areas like Salford’s Media City hub, home to the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation), we’re sure that Manchester will continue to challenge London in attracting experienced IT professionals.

Bristol was the next-biggest destination for tech professionals, with around 20,541 tech and IT openings. Following closely behind were Leeds (14,418 openings in 2020), Cambridge (14,072), Birmingham (11,418), and Oxford (11,235). Interestingly, all of these cities are in England.

If we look at the number of digital tech positions in 2022 per 10K people, however, our rankings change, with Oxford and Reading taking the lead. It’s worth bearing in mind that we’re still early on in the year, so these figures are likely to fluctuate as the year moves on.

Infographic showing how many tech openings do UK cities have

At the time of writing, the cities mentioned seem to be emulating this success in 2022. Below, you’ll find an interactive map that highlights the regional data regarding the tech vacancies throughout the UK.

With software like MS Teams, Slack, JIRA, and others making remote work more effective than office-based work in some cases, we could start to see the above trends shift.

According to Forbes, we’re seeing an increasing number of companies turning to fully online models where there are no company headquarters. In these situations, employees could theoretically be based anywhere in the country and still have access to the same opportunities as their colleagues.

How Big is the Tech Market in the UK?

As 2021 wrapped up with a bang, the UK government announced the UK tech sector’s “best year ever”. The official UK government website, GOV.UK, has pointed to Cambridge as the leading tech city in terms of VC funding, venture capital rounds, tech salaries, and other indicators.

Manchester came in a very close second, while Edinburgh and Belfast also featured in the top ten. There is now a greater level of capital flowing through the UK tech scene than ever, with around £29.4 billion recorded in 2021, an increase of around 250% when compared to 2020. This represents the biggest percentage growth in the UK tech scene since the period between 2013 to 2014.

The Future of Tech in the UK

It’s clear that the world is increasingly dependent on IT-driven technologies, and as such, there’s going to be a continued demand for qualified, skilled IT and tech professionals across the United Kingdom. That’s why job openings in these areas are some of the fastest-growing and highest-paid positions available.

London still has the highest number of vacancies available of any UK city, in addition to offering the highest earnings for a full-time worker in tech. However, the tech positions available per 10,000 residents shows us that other cities may have more to offer to IT and tech professionals looking to make their next career move. With their smaller populations, cities like Edinburgh, Reading, Bristol, and Glasgow have a greater number of positions available to serve the population.

Increasing need for safe (remote) work practices

Of course, with such a rapid increase in tech roles and the adoption of new technologies in the workplace, cybersecurity is a huge concern. Companies looking to improve their employees’ security when working remotely should turn to the best cybersecurity tools to keep their systems secure. With the best antivirus software to protect against malware and secure VPNs to guard networks, offering workers a remote-working policy doesn’t have to come with increased risk to business continuity.

Methodology

In order to curate this data, we analysed publicly available information from sources including Technation.io, Adzuna.co.uk, Indeed.co.uk, Numbeo.com, PayScale, and the Office for National Statistics (ONS). This allowed us to study how the average demand for professionals and average salaries available in tech and IT roles have changed over time.

We referenced this information across multiple sources, including external links to sources where available. Where possible, we looked at verified data from past years to ensure that our data is accurate and up to date.

Fair use statement

Interested in sharing our information about role and salary growth in the IT and tech industry? We’re always happy for our research and media to be shared for noncommercial use, providing that a link back to this page is included as credit.

Which Cities and Jobs in the UK Offer the Highest IT Salaries? | Frequently Asked Questions

In case you have a specific question or want to quickly determine the best-paid roles in tech, check out our FAQ below.

Professionals working in IT and tech enjoy some of the highest salaries in the United Kingdom when compared to other industries. Of the highest-paid roles in this industry that we analysed, the majority were earning between £50,000 – £60,000 per annum as of 2022. There’s much more detail in our full article, including the fastest-growing IT salaries.

Our research has revealed that Data Scientists currently earn the highest salaries in tech and IT within the UK. With enough experience, you could earn more than £60,000 and even beyond £100,000 in certain companies. However, Front-End Developers have seen the biggest jump since 2019, with an average 68.5% increase in remuneration. Other software development roles follow closely behind.

Of the top ten roles that we analysed, the highest-paid roles in tech in the UK earn between £49,436 – £61,169 according to the most up-to-date figures available. Thanks to increasing demand that’s beginning to outweigh supply, computer science graduates or self-taught coders with enough experience could earn some of the best salaries available.

There’s currently a huge demand for professionals in IT and tech, particularly for software developers, though project management roles are very common too. While London has the most tech openings as of 2022 (61,229 at the time of writing), Oxford, Reading, and Cambridge have the most available opportunities per 10,000 residents.

Thanks to companies increasingly loosening their work-from-home policies, many professionals now work remotely. This means that far more opportunities could be available to you than before the COVID-19 pandemic. London has the most tech openings as of 2022, but other cities, like Oxford, Reading, and Cambridge, have the most available opportunities per 10,000 residents.

Cybersecurity journalist
Chris is a tech journalist with many years' experience covering the latest news in online privacy and cybersecurity. He's also a published author and works as a Product Manager for some of the most innovative software development companies.