THURSDAY 24 JAN 2019 1:46 PM


Home to 1.1 million people, but better known for its manufacturing heritage than its digital future, Birmingham is a city at a crossroads. The West Midlands city has an economy that is undergoing change, though, according to insights from jobs site

The company’s digital cities research has determined that Birmingham is the best city in the UK in which to develop a digital career. The shift might owe some credence to the development of startup hubs like Innovation Birmingham. It might also help that the digital industry has experienced a 33% growth year-on-year.

Louise Goodman, marketing director at, says, “Our first Digital Cities ranking shows the digital industry is thriving all over the country, not just in London. With London fast becoming unaffordable for the majority of young people starting out their careers, we hope this ranking will give them confidence that there are exciting opportunities in their home or university cities. You don’t have to move to London to make it in digital!”

Other cities score well in other areas, as with Edinburgh, which takes the crown for high salaries, Manchester and Belfast which have the joint-highest number of job openings, and Belfast, which has experienced a UK-leading 37% industry growth owing to its cybersecurity prowess. But Birmingham, capital of the Midlands, comes out tops for offering quality across all metrics. Its rents are low, salaries high, a has a second-best showing in jobs on offer and a steady, respectable growth rate. All of that leads it to an overall score of 210. Following it is Milton Keynes, at 187 and Manchester at 162.

What is clear, though, is that the UK’s urban centres are a buyer’s market when it comes to careers in the digital industry. With reasonable costs of living, numerous job openings and opportunities for growth, London is now being challenged for its digital crown.

The growth rate metric is based on Tech City's study of turnover, job availability, number of new businesses and the economic contribution of the tech sector.

Monster’s Digital Cities ranking

  1. Birmingham
  2. Milton Keynes
  3. Manchester
  4. Leeds
  5. Bristol
  6. Brighton
  7. Edinburgh
  8. Belfast
  9. Newcastle
  10. Cardiff