CompTIA’s 2nd Annual UK Tech Town Index examined the landscape of employment opportunities and livability factors to determine the top 10 cities where IT professionals can live and work in 2020. This was in the midst of unprecedented circumstances. The factors that were considered included the number of IT job openings, projected job growth, and cost of living. As with other countries around the globe, no one could have foreseen the disruption 2020 would bring to the UK. Global pandemics, political unrest, and widespread economic downturns changed the landscape of almost everything. Students, families, workers, and businesses all had to rely on technology to keep their operations, learning, and connected. Like the US, the UK’s technology sector has remained a bright spot in the economy.
CompTIA’s 2nd Annual UK Tech Town Index examined the landscape of employment opportunities and livability factors to determine the top 10 places for IT professionals to live and work in 2020. The UK’s IT jobs market, projected job growth, and the reported cost of living in travel-to-work areas (TTWAs), were all evaluated.
Here’s the complete UK Tech Town Index 2020, with 2019 ranking in parentheses.
Leeds (3)
Birmingham (4)
Belfast (NR).
Manchester (1)
Cambridge (6)
Edinburgh (7)
London (5)
Bristol (2)
Reading (10)
Bath (8)
Get the complete report.
Leeds leads the way
The UK Tech Town Index ranked Leeds as the best-known tech town in the country this year. This is due to its lower cost of living and booming IT job scene. Manchester, last year’s top Tech Town fell to No. 4 in 2020
From September 2019 to August 2020 11,348 IT jobs were created in Leeds. These positions included programmers, software developers, and IT business analysts. Leeds ranks No. 4 on the list for cost of living (as it is the lowest). The average house in Leeds is priced at PS197 026, which is lower than the UK average of PS239 196. This affordability is complemented by a healthy median salary of PS41 360. Although not the highest salary, Leeds IT professionals find their salary is a lot more than the PS51,748 in London, where the average home costs almost 2.5x as much. The growth in jobs is also a contributing factor. This factor alone is expected to grow 2.1% between 2020 and 2021.
Download the complete report to learn more about the 10 Tech Towns.
The List Makes a Debut in Belfast
Birmingham snagged the second spot this year, moving up from fourth in 2019. Belfast, the sole newcomer, debuts at No. 3.
It’s no surprise that the Northern Irish city is at the top of the list thanks to its active startup scene, healthy job market, and a low cost of living. Over 11,000 IT jobs have been posted in Belfast over the past year. These include programmers, software developers, IT business analysts, architects, and programmers. PwC, Allstate Northern Ireland Corporation, Deloitte, Deloitte, and Citigroup are some of the top IT job advertisers in Belfast, reflecting its appeal as an investment center. Belfast is No. 1 in the world for home prices, with an average of PS135,523 – compared to the London average at PS489159 and the Edinburgh average at PS284,654 – Our list is ranked No. 1 for affordability. The city is a magnet for tech workers when you consider that the median IT wage here (PS38.278) is 26% higher than the national average across all occupations.

Remote Work Factor
Without discussing the UK’s remote and work-from-home jobs landscape, it’s impossible for IT professionals to think of job opportunities. COVID has fundamentally changed the way we work. Many companies now indicate that the trend of “working from home”, which has been widespread for months, will continue beyond the pandemic. Some even plan to close their offices permanently. Remote work is expected to continue growing in popularity and has many advantages, including flexibility in location and no commute.
Around 88,000 IT jobs have been posted in the UK over the past year using keywords “remote”, WFH, or “work from home”. This is a dramatic increase from 2019. In Q1 2020, 19,000 “WFH” jobs were posted (compared with just 11,000 in Q1 2019), 24,000 were posted Q2 2020, and 42,240 jobs were posted Q3 2020 (compared with only 13,000 in Q3 2019). The median advertised salary for those jobs was PS47,500. This is slightly lower than the average PS44,500 across all IT job postings.
These jobs are available