The UK is Europe’s most desirable technology hub for global tech workers looking to move abroad, with London rivalling New York and San Francisco as the world’s top tech hub, according to a survey of over eight hundred international technology professionals.
The YouGov survey of over eight hundred international technology professionals reveals that mobile, global tech workers would prefer to relocate to London, over other rival tech hubs in Europe such as Berlin and Paris.
The survey also found that London is viewed together with New York and San Francisco as one of the world’s top three technology hubs.
The British capital scored highly across a range of business and lifestyle factors according to the research, commissioned by London & Partners, the Mayor of London’s promotional company and carried out by YouGov.
A large proportion of global tech respondents cited London’s good international travel connections, cultural diversity and creative and innovative environment as important factors for its attractiveness.
The survey also found that London rated highly when compared with other tech hubs across the world. Respondents found London to be more favourable for ease of doing business, good international travel connections and culture arts and entertainment than hubs such as Bangalore, Ontario and Singapore.
Recent research has also found that London leads the way for high-skilled talent. In the past three years London has seen a sixteen per cent increase in high-skilled workers, making it the most talented city in the world. The growth of London’s tech sector has helped it to attract more highly skilled workers than any other global rival including New York, Hong Kong and Sydney2.
The Mayor of London Boris Johnson MP said: “London is a technology powerhouse. With our competitive business environment and an unrivalled range of culture, arts and entertainment, we are able to attract some of the very best creative and entrepreneurial minds on the planet. Since the creation of the Tech City project six years ago, London has emerged as Europe’s fastest growing technology hub while cementing our status as a world-class destination to live and work.”
Russ Shaw, founder of the global advocacy network Tech London Advocates added: “London is a truly global city and has all the right ingredients to remain one of the world’s leading tech hubs. London offers the world-class financial centre of New York, the thriving technology start-up culture of Silicon Valley, the political and regulatory environment of Washington DC and the dynamic entertainment industry of Los Angeles, all in one city. This creates an environment with unique potential for entrepreneurs.”
While London ranked consistently high across a range of metrics, New York and San Francisco remain the two most desirable global tech destinations among respondents. The American cities narrowly scored higher than London in terms of ease of doing business and employment opportunities.
The research has been released to coincide with the global launch of the ‘Transatlantic Tech Boom’ campaign, a joint initiative between London & Partners, UK Trade & Investment and funded by the GREAT UK challenge fund.
The campaign will target US technology businesses looking to expand into London and the UK. It will officially be launched at an exclusive event at the Great British House on Sunday 13th March at the global film, music and digital festival – South by SouthWest (SXSW). The event will showcase the brightest American and British figures from the UK’s tech scene including keynote speeches from Russ Shaw, founder of Tech London Advocates, Ben Medlock, Co-founder of SwiftKey and a live performance from British singer-song-writer and music-tech entrepreneur, Beatie Wolfe.
Gordon Innes CEO of London & Partners said: “London is already Europe’s leading destination for international technology companies looking to expand globally. But the research findings also demonstrate that London has joined San Francisco and New York to become one of the world’s leading tech hubs. With easy access to world-class tech talent, international markets and a culture of innovation, we have already seen American tech companies such as Facebook, Amazon and Google establish a strong presence in the UK. We look forward to welcoming more US businesses and entrepreneurs to take advantage of the fantastic business and lifestyle opportunities that London and the UK has to offer.”
Separate research from DueDil, the London-based fintech company, revealed the impact of US entrepreneurs on the UK tech sector. The research finds that 1,403 US entrepreneurs are directors of UK tech SMEs founded between 2010-2014, more than almost any other non-UK nationality (except Ireland and India). The findings also showed that the number of UK tech start-ups with US directors has more than doubled since 20103.
US entrepreneur and DueDil CEO Damian Kimmelman said: “The UK offers a host of opportunities for overseas entrepreneurs and tech businesses alike. The UK’s open approach to data, strong government support, availability of finance and access to technical talent made it the perfect location to implement our business idea and scale the company. As an American, it is no surprise to learn that the UK is the destination of choice for US tech entrepreneurs looking to start and grow a digital business.”
London and the UK also remain the leading location for global companies looking to establish a European Headquarters, with London hosting forty per cent of the world’s top companies. In the last five years, some of the world’s largest technology companies such as Google, Facebook and Skype have all established developer and engineering hubs in London. Earlier this year, US technology giant Amazon announced plans to create an additional 2,500 jobs in the UK, bringing the company’s total number of employees to more than 14,500 by the end of 2016.
Michael Xenakis, Managing Director EMEA of online restaurant booking service, OpenTable, commented on the company’s decision to establish a European base in London: “London sits firmly at the forefront of the global restaurant scene, making it an obvious choice for OpenTable’s European base. It offers excellent travel links to the US and Europe, and enables us to tap into an abundance of talent in relevant sectors for our business, from engineering to marketing and everything in between.”