For Cyber Security Specialists which UK cities are most attractive?

For any recruitment practitioner, information and insights pertaining to the attractiveness of a location for a group of skills can be beneficial in ways more than one. In fact, for a targeted go-to-market strategy, comparing and analyzing the suitability of established as well as upcoming locations can help in informed decision making.

In the UK, the City of London is an obvious choice for both companies advertising for technology jobs as well as candidates who are looking for suitable openings. In particular, London is the hub of activity for Cybersecurity professionals and jobs. However, other emerging hubs have also drawn the attention of recruitment strategy professionals. Generally speaking, any deep-dive research outlining the attractiveness of a particular location from a recruitment stand point is a combination of multiple factors; availability of jobs, salaries, cost of living and the sector growth potential in that area.

This is precisely what is borne out by a study conducted by Crucial Academy, a leading Cybersecurity training institute in the UK. The company provides free training, accredited qualifications and careers for ex-servicemen/women. Published in September 2018, the report highlights the cities/locations in the UK best suited to attract Cybersecurity talent. Titled ‘2018 Cybersecurity City Ranking’ the report analyses four factors mentioned above to highlight which cities may be more attractive to those who are already employed in this sector or a looking to enter the market to pursue a career in Cybersecurity.

Rank

City

Salary Score

Affordability Score

Job Availability Score

Tech Growth Potential Score

Total Score

1

Reading

8.3

7.3

10.0

8.1

33.7

2

Leeds

7.7

7.9

7.5

9.7

32.8

3

Cardiff

9.3

10.0

4.2

8.0

31.5

4

Edinburgh

8.5

8.2

4.7

9.7

31.1

5

Manchester

7.8

7.5

6.6

8.9

30.8

6

London

10.0

5.9

5.2

8.2

29.3

7

Glasgow

8.1

8.4

4.2

8.5

29.2

8

Newcastle

8.4

9.2

3.2

8.0

28.8

9

Brighton

7.8

6.5

4.7

9.7

28.7

10

Bristol

7.5

6.7

4.6

9.3

28.1

Analyzing the metrics:

  1. Best Cybersecurity Salaries: According to the research, London with a score of 10/10 is the most attractive city for Cybersecurity talent from a salary perspective, followed by Cardiff with a score of 9.3 and Edinburgh with a score of 8.5. Other cities which offer better than average salaries are Newcastle, Reading, and Glasgow. The current data corroborates the findings of another study done by Avance Consulting in 2018 based on aggregated jobs data in the UK. As per the research, London being the Cybersecurity hub in the UK, accounted for more than 50% of the Cybersecurity jobs advertised (6 months ended July 31st, 2018). The median annual salary for Cybersecurity roles in London topped £65,000, which is higher than the median annual UK salary. With an annual salary growth of 19%, Cardiff (Wales) has emerged as a strong alternative location for Cybersecurity jobs. Similarly, median salaries in Edinburgh (Scotland) hovers around £60,000, at par with the national average.
  2. Best Cities for Jobs Availability: In terms of ‘ease of job availability’, the scores are scattered. At the top of the table is Reading (Berkshire) with a score of ‘perfect 10’. This has been mainly attributed to the presence of a large number of global technology companies in the region (Thales Group, Symantec, Cisco, NTT Security, SDT, Assuria etc.). This is followed by Leeds (score of 7.5) and Manchester (score of 6.6). However, the other prominent cities such as London (score of 5.2), Edinburgh & Brighton (score of 4.7 each) have not fared well on this count. This is probably because of the concentration of jobs within a region and higher competition based on salary and skills availability.
  3. Technology Growth Potential: Almost all the technology hubs in the UK have scored at least 8 (out of a possible 10), with Leeds, Edinburgh, Brighton with an identical score of 9.7 each.

Overall Scenario

According to this study, London’s relatively poor show has been primarily on account of difficulty in getting the right Cybersecurity jobs (read ease of availability) and high cost of living. In this scenario, newer locations have emerged on the Cybersecurity jobs and talent map.

Despite being the Fintech hub, London has recently lost out to Cardiff which was chosen by Monzo (a mobile only bank that received its license in April, 2017) to create 300 jobs as a part of its expansion plans outside London. Monzo has joined other Fintechs such as GoCompare, Confused.com and MoneySupermarket.com which are also headquartered in Wales. Similarly, Capita (formerly Capita IT Managed Solutions) UK’s biggest outsourcer has established its first Security Operations Center (SOC) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Apart from London, the other attractive locations in the UK for Cybersecurity talent are Reading (overall score of 33.7), Leeds (overall score of 32.8), Cardiff (overall score of 31.5) and Edinburgh (overall score of 31.1).

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