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Key Statistics

  • Advertised roles in the digital tech sector have grown 36% since June
  • Sector advertised over 90,000 jobs per week in August 2020
  • Tech employs more than a fifth of workforce in UK’s biggest cities
  • UK tech employs 2.93m people, with 40% growth in two years 
  • Median digital tech sector salary increased by 4% from 2018 to 2019
  • Digital tech now accounts for 9% of UK workforce
  • Bristol has seen highest salary increase across digital tech roles in 2019 from £35,520 to £40,000
  • The demand for Cloud computing has grown by 22% from 2018 to 2019 
  • Software Developer is seen as a key role within society, amongst the top 5 sought after roles within the UK alongside Social Care workers and Nurses.
  • London is still a salary sweet spot for digital tech workers, with the median salary across all digital tech roles at £55K
  • Software developer is the most in demand role sought by employers and makes up 6% of all advertised digital tech roles
  • Of all roles advertised, Cambridge and Belfast had the highest proportion of digital tech roles at 26%

Jobs and skills data tool

Explore jobs data for your city with our Jobs and skills data tool, in partnership with Count.

This notebook allows you to interact with the data underlying this report - looking at digital tech roles within the UK, based on the 2019 data from Adzuna. The data can be explored directly through the tool or can be downloaded as a CSV file. Take a look at the examples, or build you own visualisations to find out more about the jobs and skills demanded near you.



Digital tech has seen a 36% increase in vacancies from June to August 2020, second only to healthcare for the number of jobs advertised

We can not ignore the impact global issues have on society and the economy. Covid-19 has profoundly affect demand for roles across the labour market. We can see that digital tech roles remain in high demand compared to other sectors. During these uncertain times, technology has been an enabler for many companies and communities.

The chart shows the number of advertised roles from January to August 2020. We see from March that the number of roles advertised decreased rapidly across most categories. 

To look at the data to June paints a picture of the ubiquitous decrease in vacancies across the UK labour market. But, when we take a longer term view to August 2020, a new trend of resurgence surfaces.

Digital tech is second in importance in the UK labour market in 2020 only to Healthcare. Digital tech roles have seen a 36% uptick from June to August, unlike many other sectors, like Retail, which have reached a plateau.


Tech roles

In 2019 the role of software developer was one of the top 5 sought after roles across UK cities, amongst key worker roles such as Nurses and Social care workers

This shows the importance technology plays in the UK economy. Digital tech skills and roles are becoming increasingly critical to businesses across UK sectors, as well as multiplying with the growth of the tech sector.

YearJob roleFrequency%
2019Social Care Worker34113312.80%
2019General Nurse2579949.68%
2019General Manager2007847.53%
2019Software Developer1814546.81%
2019Project Manager1360925.11%

Source: Adzuna data 2019

Within some of clusters such as  London, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Belfast and Cambridge, Software developer was the most advertised role of 2019 out of any role advertised. Unsurprisingly, then, the most advertised digital tech role across the UK cities was a Software Developer.

The skills employers are demanding within the Software Developer role include:

  • Engineering 
  • .net 
  • Javascript 
  • Java 
  • C++ 
  • Data 
  • SQL  
  • Python  
  • Amazon Web Service
  • Client 

These top skills sought show the dynamic range of skills in demand, the programming skills are important but across multiple languages - showing Java and C++ are still very much the popular programming languages used for building software. Working with data, cloud and understanding clients requests to be reflected within the architect. Microsoft is still very much a powerhouse -  .net is an open source developer platform for building apps. The cross-platform functionality allows the use of multiple languages. 


Tech Salaries

22% of all advertised jobs in Glasgow, and 26% in Cambridge and Belfast were digital tech roles

According to the Tech Nation Report 2020,  Manchester is the fastest growing tech city within Europe, investment grew by 277% in 2019 from 2019 (£48m to £181m). With this growth, comes the need for talent - the economic benefits to the city and the knock on effect to employees in terms of salary seems to be reflected in the increase in median salary year on year by £2.5K.

The percentage of digital tech roles is as a proportion of all roles advertised. For example, of all jobs that were advertised, 19% were digital tech roles in Birmingham in both 2019 and 2018.

UK city
Job openings 2019% dig tech role 2019% dig Tech role 2018Median dig tech salary 2019Median dig tech salary 2018Median salary across all roles 2019Median salary across all roles 2018

Source: Adzuna 2019


Salaries and the cities

The median salary for digital tech roles within the UK is £39k compared to £30k for all roles in the UK

Median salary for non digital tech roles has decreased in 2019 in comparison to 2018's median figure, whilst the median salary for digital tech roles have generally increased, except for the cities where there has been no change, and no evidence of a decrease - thus showing the demand for digital tech roles overall.

  • London, Cardiff and Belfast show a year on year increase in median salaries for digital tech roles over the 5 year period, 2015 -2019.
  • Reading, Edinburgh and Cambridge in comparison to the other cities observed here are offering higher median salaries across these popular roles as shown in the figure below.
  • Of top roles advertised across clusters, IT system architects are still offering higher median salary, with an increase of approximately £8K across the UK cities. 
  • IT System architect YoY is still bringing in the top median salary as one of the top most advertised roles within the UK.
  • We see new roles growing in demand, such as the Infrastructure Engineer, where design, build and deployment using the latest technologies are key elements to the role.

Table Salary by tech role for UK cities (2019)

Software DeveloperData ScientistFront End DeveloperFull Stack DeveloperInfrastructure EngineerBusiness Analyst

Source: Adzuna 2019, median salary for digital tech roles across UK cities

IT System architects have seen the largest absolute increase in salary from 2018-2019, by just under £8,000

Overall, the median salary for the most popular digital tech roles have increased from 2018 to 2019. 

Table Salary changes for top tech roles (2019)

Role20182019£ YoY change
Software Developer£39,430£43,601+£4,171
Data Scientist£45,714£52,446+£6,732
Front End Developer£35,286£41,536+£6,250
Full Stack Developer£40,964£45,633+£4,669
Devops Engineer£50,500£54,295+£3,795
IT System Architect£63,857£71,839+£7,982

Source: Adzuna, Median salary for digital tech roles

Although these roles are clearly in high demand by employers, we must not neglect the roles that have seen a high growth rate and that offer a competitive salary to go with it. 

Examples of this are Cloud and Cyber security based roles. Cloud based computing is on a rise, this capability allows the creation, hosting, and executing of applications that can scale up much faster, due to the environment's capacity to handle large volumes. Where the use of ‘big data’ is now seen as the norm across all sectors, the need to hire talent with this skill is becoming ever more important.


Cloud rises 

Cloud computing roles are burgeoning across the digital tech economy

The demand for readily available information at the touch of a button, has sped the development of such technologies and the positive possibilities this is expelling is contributing to the creation of jobs. IT positions are migrating, roles including the maintenance of cloud networks are also formed. It is no surprise the need for software developers keeps growing.

This has a knock on effect on sub sectors within the tech industry. Cyber security is an instance of this. Where confidential information is being stored, this has to be done in a secure way, encrypted. Both cloud and cyber are important infrastructure technologies for products and services across all types of businesses. Technology is penetrating all sectors, whilst growing other sub sectors such as the Internet of things.

Cyber RolesMedian Salary 2019
Cyber security analyst£26,500
Cyber security architect£80,000
Cyber security consultant£64,620
Cyber security engineer£50,000
Cyber security manager£67,500

Tech demand rockets

Between 2017 and 2018, employer demand for cloud skills only grew by 3.4%, compared to a staggering 22% between 2018 and 2019

With an increasing demand for digital tech roles, there will inevitably be a surge for the relevant skills to undertake a role. As employer demand for Cloud based roles and cyber security roles increase, we look at the number of roles overall that require such skills regardless of job title.

  • Over the past 3 years we have seen the demand for AI, Cyber and Cloud skills grow.
  • This shows the growing importance of cyber, AI and cloud skills needed today and the scalability such technology is providing.
  • AI and Cyber grew by 44% and 22% respectively YoY.
  • This is reflected within the numbers. Over the past 3 years, we see that the demand for roles containing AI, Cyber and Cloud skills have all increased. We observe the larger increase from 2018-2019, particularly with the likes of AI. 
Skill201720182019% change 2017 -2019
Cyber Security27822410654999279.69%

Note: Absolute figures above refer to the number of job advertisements mentioning skills associated with AI, Cyber security and Cloud.

As these skills become more important and grow in demand, the relationship of these skills amongst each other and with data. Training data to feed machine learning tasks to aid A.I. Data held in cloud storage, with cyber security to protect confidential data.

Data roles are important, the need for diverse ‘data people’ is growing as more businesses want actual insight from data and need this to be communicated to them in a non-technical way.


Non tech roles in tech

As the demand for digital tech roles are increases, demand for non technical roles within these companies is growing too

Although there is emphasis on the lack of digital tech skills within the UK and a great push into getting the workforce and future generations equipped for an ever growing digital world. There are important roles that sit within tech teams and companies, which are pivotal to the success of delivery and growth of products and companies. 

Client management and onboarding are some of the key skills for a Customer Success Manager. Whilst assurance, testing and creating automations are key skills for a Product Quality Inspector.

Project management, kanban, jira and scrumming skills are important for delivery managers and Scrum Masters.


UK regions

London offers the highest median digital tech salary for digital tech roles, followed by Northern Ireland.

The table below shows the number of advertised roles and the percentage of which were digital tech roles per region. Northern Ireland has the highest rate of advertised digital tech roles, this could be due to the high nature of tech start ups within the ecosystem.

RegionNo. all advertised rolesNo. advertised digital tech roles% digital tech rolesMedian digital tech salaryMedian salary overall
Greater London345926365827519.0%£55,000£43,000
Northern Ireland1235232799222.7%£38,400£27,500
South East England236151040869717.3%£37,500£26,880
East of England266530245694117.1%£37,100£26,500
North West England131773320965115.9%£36,000£25,000
South West England126563824332419.2%£35,500£26,000
East Midlands80527513480416.7%£35,100£25,000
West Midlands106649618938217.8%£35,000£26,000
Yorkshire and the Humber87784915179317.3%£33,500£25,000
North East England3037924824415.9%£32,500£24,000

Software developer was the most advertised role of 2019 - in Cambridge, this made up 42% of the top ten digital tech roles, with the role of Engineer behind at 13%. Embedded Engineer was in high employer demand and is only present within the top ten roles in Cambridge. 

Front End developer is within the top 10 most advertised roles, excluding Sheffield and Cambridge

Specific skill based roles such as NET, PHP and Java developer are very much in demand. In London, the programming language, Python language is popular and there are typically more meet-ups dedicated to this language within London, for example, the ‘London Python’ meetup has over 6,500 members (this is only one of many). Although there has been growth in ‘newer’ technical languages such as Python, traditionally older and known languages are very much in demand by employers across the UK. 

However, the role of a Full Stack developer is also in demand across the UK, where a toolkit of skills are required including front end and back end programming skills, network, hosting and data modelling. 

These are the top two roles which have increased in employer demand YoY:

  • London, Python Developer increased by 15% and Devops Engineer increased by 11%
  • Bath, Devops Engineer by 125%, more than double the number of advertised roles, and Engineer by 116%
  • Belfast, Product Quality Inspector by 25% and Front End Developer by 15%
  • Birmingham, Quality Engineer by 229% and Field Service Engineer by 29%
  • Bristol, Field Service Engineer by 50% and Devops Engineer by 48%
  • Cambridge, Python Developer by 65% and Devops Engineer by 45%
  • Cardiff, Structural Engineer by 153% and Front End Developer by 96%
  • Edinburgh, Engineer by 25% and Devops Engineer by 22%
  • Glasgow, Devops Engineer by 85% and Engineer by 84%
  • Leeds, NET Developer by 38% and Software Developer by 33%
  • Manchester, Infrastructure Engineer by 38% and NET Developer by 31%
  • Newcastle, PHP Developer by 74% and Web Developer by 47%
  • Reading, Devops Engineer by 39% and IT System Architect by 34%
  • Sheffield, Maintenance Engineer by 71% and Software Developer by 70%

Cities and cost of living

Sheffield is the most cost effective place to work as a Project Manager, whilst Newcastle is No.1 for IT Systems Analysts

The cost of living is an essential factor taken into account when deciding upon a career and a place to live. We looked into the cost of living for UK cities and the average salary across digital tech roles, to have a better understanding of how far one's salary will go according to where you live.

The table below shows the UK cities in rank order according to cost of living and median digital tech salary . Taking this into account, although London is the capital and is widely seen as having the hotbed of talent and ranks as the best place to live overall, both Belfast and Edinburgh are UK cities where cost of living and salary offered is lower than the capital, but brings them in at number 2 and 3 as places to live for good value for money.Cost of living in London has decreased from 2019 so far, effects of covid 19 will soon be sure to show deeper effects of this, however.

In cities such as London, Reading, Cambridge, Edinburgh, Leeds, Manchester, Glasgow and Bristol - there has been a decrease in cost of living.

Whereas, cities such as Birmingham, Belfast, Bath, Cardiff, Sheffield and Newcastle have seen a slight increase YoY on the cost of living.

Rank of UK city2019 Cost of living Index2020 Cost of living Index ratioAverage salary across digital tech roles

Source: Adzuna data 2019, Numbeo, cost of living ranking

But, looking at the median salary provided for particular digital tech roles and taking the cost of living into account. What city provides better value for money?

We see various digital tech roles offer a varied median salary according to the skills needed and the level of expertise, this of course varies across clusters. So we take into account the roles one can have and where they live to provide an alternative ‘best’ place to live according to salary and cost of living within the city.

The table below shows as an Infrastructure Engineer, you appear better off in Edinburgh and better off as an IT System Architect in Newcastle.

Digital job openings 2019UK median salaryBest city to work based on salary and cost of livingMedian Salary for the best city
Software Developer151306£45,000London£62,500
Data Scientist10029£55,000Sheffield£65,000
Front End Developer33863£45,000London£60,000
Infrastructure Engineer19237£43,500Edinburgh£54,534
Business Analyst19804£47,500London£60,000
IT System Architect19028£75,000Newcastle£78,000
NET Developer46582£42,500Belfast£45,000
Project Manager40624£50,000Sheffield£50,000
Product Quality Inspector11094£30,000Birmingham£37,500

Source: Adzuna data 2019, Numbeo, cost of living ranking for digital tech roles



Over 14 million rows of data was analysed, using Adzuna data covering the whole of 2019 and up to the 9th August 2020. This data contained information about advertised jobs, across 29 different categories from the year 2019 up until mid April.

Summary statistics were performed on digital tech roles (IT jobs or Engineering jobs) to understand the salary offerings provided by employers.

Lower quartile, median, mean and upper quartile were calculated. 

Lower quartile represents the first quarter and Upper quartile represents three quarters of the way along the salary list.

Throughout the report, the median salary is used, this is to ensure we have a better understanding and accuracy of an average of all roles with digital tech offered from the very junior roles to the most senior roles. The median salary recorded has been rounded up to the nearest tens.

The ‘average’ i.e. the mean is a common metric used, however this method reports more imbalanced figures as the average is skewed by the fewer higher earning roles, which does not give a realistic reflection of the salary offered for roles.

Numbeo is described as ‘the world’s largest cost of living database’, this is the source used to get the cost of living ratios for the UK cities.