What does Manchester’s tech sector look like?

Monday, 2nd December 2019

Interview with Andrew Toolan – MIDAS with sector group manager, Ilona Alcock

There is a lot of talk about the scale and potential of Manchester’s tech scene and we are seeing more and more companies moving into the region.

Against this backdrop, we are seeing increased competition for talent and numerous unfilled roles, leading to further outsourcing and offshoring.

We caught up with Andrew Toolan, Head Of Business Development: Strategic PartnershipManchester’s inward investment agency, MIDAS, to get a better picture of the sector.

How big is the creative, digital and tech sector in Greater Manchester? 

It is undoubtedly the UK’s second city in for tech. The sector employs 71,600 people in the region, which is 52% more than Birmingham (LinkedIn 2019). E-commerce is particular strength with 50% more organisations than any other city outside London operating in this area.

As tech now underpins almost all other sectors, what are the key growth areas for the region?

Fintech is responsible for a significant proportion of MIDAS’ pipeline and is growing at an precedented rate. We also have a strong presence in: Cyber; Media & Content Creation; Advertising; Software & Data; Immersive Tech; Smart Cities; IoT; and Digital Health.

Have we got the talent and support we need?

Manchester is the best city in the UK for starting a career in tech (Source: UK Tech Towns Index 2019) and performs very well in several specialist skill areas where not only is it second to London but comfortably ahead of the next best city in third.

Manchester is now second in the world for attracting talent from London, behind only New York City. This puts it ahead of key players including Sydney, Melbourne, Paris, San Francisco and Amsterdam internationally and Birmingham, Bristol and Oxford nationally.

What are the specialist skills area where we excel?

We are the second city in the UK for the following specialisms:

  • Data Analytics: 25,400. This is 30% more than Leeds in third place (19,300) and puts Manchester at seventh place in Europe, ahead of Rome, Berlin, Barcelona and Zurich
  • A.I. and Data Science: 8,100. This is 32% more than Cambridge and 44% more than Oxford. We have seen a massive 41% one-year growth in Manchester
  • Software Engineers: 6,500. This is 67% more than Edinburgh (3,400) in third place. It is also worth noting that the University of Manchester has produced more developers than any other UK university (2,500)
  • User Experience/User Interface: 5,600, putting Manchester in 13th place in Europe
  • Cloud Computing: Manchester is in 13th place in Europe, ahead of Berlin, Frankfurt, Lisbon and Warsaw. The University of Manchester ranks second in Europe for producing cloud computing professionals (4,600)
  • Cyber Security: 3,000. This puts Manchester ninth in Europe, ahead of Brussels, Stockholm, Barcelona and Warsaw

We’ll be delving deeper into this at our Trailblazing Tech Conference this March. For more information, head to our website.