Posted 27 Feb 2020

Cybersecurity opportunities in the tech hub of the North

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By Andrew Robinson

Welcome to Manchester and Leeds – the northern digital powerhouses. For cybersecurity talent, it’s time to head north.

Everyone in IT knows about Silicon Roundabout, London’s centre for tech around Old Street station. However, something else has been quietly growing in the UK’s tech scene. In Manchester and Leeds, two large cities in the North of England, a new digital hub has developed – and it’s showing no signs of slowing down.

For talented professionals in all areas of tech, from web design, cloud computing and data analytics, there is an abundance of opportunities in Manchester and Leeds. In cybersecurity, dozens of well- respected and transformational firms are hiring. Here, we’ll explain what’s going on in these areas and why and what’s out there for cybersecurity professionals.

The tech hub in the North

To put it simply, the technology scene in the North of England is booming, centring around Manchester and Leeds. Manchester is home to more people working in tech than anywhere else in the UK outside of London. In 2018, the Manchester digital industry contributed almost £5 billion to the economy; a figure that is only going to grow. The tech sector in Leeds employs more than 100,000 people and is being referred to as a ‘scaleup heaven’.

These cities are fertile ground for start-ups and scaleups. Manchester is a hub for the fintech sector, with start-ups such as AccessPay gaining traction and VC funding. It’s not just smaller companies, however. Household names have seen what these northern cities have to offer. KPMG is investing heavily into Manchester, opening a new innovation hub at the Manchester Technology Centre, while Leeds is home to industry disruptors such as Pharmacy2U and First Direct.

Why is the Northern tech scene prospering?

There are several reasons why Manchester and Leeds have become world-class locations for tech. They both have:

  • Access to a large, educated talent pool – both Manchester and Leeds are big cities and home to top universities
  • Good transport links to other big Northern cities such as Liverpool and Sheffield, while London isn’t too far away by car, train or plane
  • Manchester and Leeds are attractive cities to live in, with great nightlife, sports and shopping

Successful tech companies want to be near other successful tech companies. When big names come to this region, more and more want to follow, creating a compound effect.

Opportunities in cybersecurity

As you would expect from hubs for start-ups, scaleups and enterprise-level tech companies, cybersecurity is massively important. The businesses need to be able to keep their operations stable and guarantee the safety of their customers’ data.

According to 2019 data from LinkedIn Talent Insights, there are 3,900 cybersecurity professionals working in Manchester (making it the biggest centre for cybersecurity in the UK outside London) and 2,300 working in Leeds.

As we move into 2020 and these hotbeds of technology continue to grow, we must expect these numbers to grow. New and exciting start-up businesses and those seeking to expand will hire more cybersecurity experts as their customer base grows, while established names will continue to flock to the area to look for talent. For example, HP is about to open an office for 300 employees at Circle Square in Manchester.

If you’re a cybersecurity professional, or a company looking to set up a base, you’ll find it hard to beat Manchester and Leeds. Call EliteCyber on 0330 0524 307 or email andrew.r@elitecyber-group.com for more information on how to take advantage of the opportunities this brings.