London attracted more tech talent than rest of Europe in 2018

London was the top European destination for international tech talent in 2018, attracting more skilled workers than the rest of Europe, according to research

More global skilled technology workers chose to work in London over any other European city in 2018, according to research by London & Partners.

The study of data from LinkedIn and developer community Stack Overflow found London attracted more European and non-EU technology professionals than the rest of Europe for the second year in a row. Stack Overflow also recently found that London has around 357,900 software developers, more than any other city in Europe.

Laura Citron, CEO of London & Partners, said: “London is home to some of the best technical and creative minds who are helping us to lead the way in cutting-edge research and innovations in high growth areas such as fintech [financial technology] and artificial intelligence.

“Today’s figures demonstrate that London is an open, welcoming city and that the strength of our tech sector is built on the international makeup of our tech workforce.”

Stack Overflow data shows Paris also has a high number of software developers, with around 268,600 working in the capital, as well as Amsterdam, which has a 216,800 developer population. Falling behind are cities such as Berlin and Zurich, which each have around 99,000 developers.

The decision to leave the European Union has caused concern over access to skilled workers in the UK, especially as the cap on Tier 2 visas saw 3,000 skilled workers turned away from the UK in the beginning of 2018.

While the government has recently outlined proposed new rules for skilled working visas, including the removal of the current Tier 2 visa cap, companies are still worried they won’t have enough software developers to carry their firms through Brexit.

But LinkedIn and Stack Overflow figures also take into account talent from outside of the EU, and these skilled workers may not necessarily be deterred by Brexit.

Data from LinkedIn found London was the top chosen city for tech migrants in 2018 and 2017 for both European and non-EU migrants.

London & Partners, the promotional agency of the Mayor of London’s office, is also launching a new online resource aimed at helping international businesses recruit talent in London.

The resource – which is not only focused on helping firms find tech talent, but also diverse tech talent – provides information about hiring such as where to find the right talent, how to deal with visas and citizenship and how to train and retain talent.

Citron said the toolkit will help businesses to “make the very most” of the talent available in London, and make it easier for businesses in London to access “the best talent from all over the world”.

The past year has seen no slowdown in the focus on technology in London, with Atos and Google opening a London-based digital innovation centre in the tail end of 2018 and the launch of a cyber innovation centre in the city, for example.

But Brexit has led to uncertainty, and there have been reports of a massive drop in financial investment in tech in the capital, as well as a decrease in reputation – despite it being the clear frontrunner for migrating technology talent.

Joshua Graff, head of LinkedIn in the UK, said: “LinkedIn members around the world continue to see opportunity in London, and whether it’s hunting for jobs on our platform, or moving to a new city to build a career, London remains in front of its European competitors in the battle for high tech talent.”

The focus is not only on making sure London remains a technology hub, but ensuring the UK as a whole is an attractive place for technology talent.

Data from LinkedIn showed Manchester also has a higher density of software developers than other European cities, with 110,600 developers residing there – more than in Berlin or Zurich.

The government recently invested £3m in developing science, technology, engineering and maths (Stem) hub in in Wales to encourage more people into tech, and investment from a number of digitally focused retailers has seen Manchester grow into a digital hub in recent years.

Read more about technology talent

  • Industry collaborative Tech Talent Charter releases data on its signatory organisations to highlight the difference made by committing to shifting the dial on gender.
  • Despite Brexit, the UK capital is still a popular destination for technology workers migrating from both inside and outside the European Union.

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