UK facing TechxitWhile London ranks as the most attractive city in the world for the global tech industry, three out of four UK tech workers (75 per cent) are willing to leave for pastures new overseas.

Digital experts are among the most in-demand workers but due to the transferable nature of tech skills, they are also among those most prepared to relocate, compared to only 61 per cent of non-tech workers who would be willing to make the move overseas. UK tech talent’s inclination to move abroad for work is similar to that of digital experts based elsewhere, with two-thirds of the global tech workforce admitting they’re prepared to move. While London may be the tech industry’s favoured city, the UK on the whole is less attractive than its capital and must continue to compete with other markets in order to recruit and retain the digital experts who are crucial to the country’s economic development.

The findings come from one of the largest ever global studies of tech and digital workers, surveying 27,000 experts by management consultancy, Boston Consulting Group and leading UK job board Totaljobs as part of global talent hub The Network*.

UK employers must act to attract and retain digital experts

The study highlights the key factors that the UK digital workforce are looking for in a job. Most important is a healthy work-life balance (1st), followed by good relationships with their peers (2nd) and with their managers (3rd). The research shows workers are more concerned with wellness and human interaction while at work over financial compensation which was ranked less important (5th). Learning and development ranked just eighth for UK tech workers, in noticeable comparison to their colleagues across the world, who ranked it second. The results show that British digital talent place more value in the day-to-day operations of their work, favouring more interesting and dynamic roles above learning and training. Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief, digital experts across the world were shown to favour working in large companies with a wider network of opportunities rather than smaller start-ups.

Alexandra Sydney, Group Marketing Director at Totaljobs, said,

This research has identified that tech workers across the world, particularly those in the UK, know what they’re looking for and aren’t afraid to move countries to find it. The UK technology sector is growing 2.5x faster than the overall economy and is worth nearly £184 billion of the UK’s GDP. This means that there’s an onus on employers to increase employee attraction and retention to ensure the UK has enough tech talent to cope with demand.

Any company keen to attract tech talent in the UK should look to create a workplace that encourages a positive and productive outlook; key demands for the UK workforce. By fostering a good work-life balance, alongside an open, friendly culture, employers can ensure that they retain skilled digital workers.

Nick South, Partner & Managing Director at BCG, said,

The digital workforce is highly skilled, highly mobile and in high demand. Seventy-five per cent of digital workers in the UK are willing to move abroad for work, which is more than other UK workers. Whilst it is good news that London remains the most attractive city in the world for tech workers globally, UK companies – and the country as a whole – have to think very smartly about how we attract and retain the best UK and global digital talent – or they will vote with their feet.

Similarly to the UK, more than three-quarters of the tech workforce in places such as India and Brazil would relocate for work. By contrast, only 55 per cent of non-tech workers globally be likely to move. Whilst willingness to move is highest for digital experts in developing economies, fewer than one in four (38 per cent) of the tech workforce in China would consider such a move.

*27,000 people were polled in 180 countries with expert-level knowledge in such skills as programming and web development, mobile application development, artificial intelligence, and robotics and engineering. Research was conducted February to April 2018.

Interested in recruiting and developing talent? We recommend the Recruitment and Retention Conference 2019 and Talent Management and Leadership Development Summit 2019.







Aphrodite is a creative writer and editor specialising in publishing and communications. She is passionate about undertaking projects in diverse sectors. She has written and edited copy for media as varied as social enterprise, art, fashion and education. She is at her most happy owning a project from its very conception, focusing on the client and project research in the first instance, and working closely with CEOs and Directors throughout the consultation process. Much of her work has focused on rebranding; messaging and tone of voice is one of her expertise, as is a distinctively unique writing style in my most of her creative projects. Her work is always driven by the versatility of language to galvanise image and to change perception, as it is by inspiring and being inspired by the wondrous diversity of people with whom paths she crosses cross!

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