A guide to working in the London tech scene
In continuation of our series exploring tech hubs around the world, we take a look at what today’s London tech scene has to offer
Author Dr Samuel Johnson once said, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life”. Of course, it’s worth noting that Johnson was speaking about 18th-century London. At the time, the city was on the cusp of drastic change thanks to the industrial revolution. Today, London is going through another revolution of sorts.
Over the past 20 years, the UK capital has developed a thriving tech community that is growing rapidly and driving much of the innovation in Europe. In fact, according to the London Assembly, more than a third of all Europe’s tech giants are based in London and the sector contributes over £56bn to the city’s economy.
What has caused this explosive growth? There are many factors including excellent education, a wide talent pool, London’s traditional excellence as a finance centre, and of course easy access to the rest of Europe.
The city also had an abundance of investment opportunities. Venture capital investment in the city has tripled since 2016, according to figures from dealroom.com, and was barely dimmed by the pandemic.
If you’re looking to move to a fun and vibrant city, London is a great choice. It attracts a lot of international talent, and the job options are unparalleled. In fact, one in five jobs in London are in the tech sector. So, if you want to know what areas to look out for, keep reading.
London and fintech go hand-in-hand. The city has a huge financial services history, with Britain’s first bank, The Bank of England, founded on Threadneedle Street in 1694. As the world of finance has grown and developed, London has always been at the forefront of innovation.
Today, the city’s real success stories are the so-called challenger banks. These digital-only institutions use cloud-based infrastructure and AI to give customers easier and faster access to banking services. Companies that are leading the pack in this field include Revolut, Rails Bank, and Monzo.
Starling Bank was founded by Anne Boden in 2014. After spending 30 years working in more traditional banks across Europe, she became frustrated by their lack of innovation and decided to create a bank that had a human-first approach. Today it is valued at $1.7bn and is backed by some pretty impressive investors such as Fidelity and Qatar Investment Authority. You can check out London-based roles at Starling Bank here.
As a direct result of the booming fintech industry as well as concentrated investment, cyber security is a growing sector in London. According to the City of London website, The UK cyber security market is the largest, most concentrated, and most accessible cybermarket in Europe, worth almost £8.3bn.
Talent is another reason why cyber security has emerged as a key player in recent years. London Universities such as King’s College, London Met, and the University of West London offer a variety of different degrees in this field. Naturally, this creates a talent pool of the best people. According to London and Partners, the UK has the largest cyber security workforce in Europe with 27 per cent of cyber jobs based in London.
World-leading cyber firms are located here such as PWC and EY. The latter offers a variety of professional services to clients including cyber security. Its cyber teams are broken up into key focus areas: strategy, risk, compliance, and resilience, to name a few. You can check out EY’s current roles on the Information Age job board.
London has a world-renowned blockchain ecosystem thanks to a wealth of incubators, research institutions, and startups. In fact, Scotland, England, Wales, and Northern Ireland account for more investment in blockchain technology than the rest of Europe combined.
The Big Smoke also tops the list for blockchain employment opportunities with 16% of international job openings being based in the city. This, at least in part, is thanks to London’s universities which are at the forefront of research in the blockchain space. UCL is a partner in Ripple’s prestigious $50m University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI).
One of London’s biggest success stories is Blockchain.com. Founded in York back in 2011, Blockchain.com is now the world’s leading crypto finance house. In fact, one-third of all bitcoin transactions are via Blockchain.com. You can find out more about open roles at Blockchain here.
You’ve heard of Silicon Valley. London has its very own technology hub in the form of the Silicon Roundabout or East London Tech City. This exciting and vibrant area attracts founders and startups from across the globe and stretches from Old Street to Shoreditch.
Back in 2011, then-Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled plans to promote a new entrepreneurial cluster amongst the post-industrial warehouses of East London. With the help of various entrepreneurs such as Eric van der Kleij, the area soon became a tech haven.
In June 2021, Google announced it was withdrawing from the area and less than a year earlier, Tech Hub, London’s first tech-focused co-working space, had also closed down, citing falling demand and rising rents.
While the tech ecosystem in London is thriving, it looks like the city is moving away from a centralised hub.
If you’d like to be part of the action in one of the world’s buzziest capitals, you can check out available tech roles in London on the Information Age job board.
Pippa Hardy is a content creator and writer for Amply by Jobbio. She’s a work-from-home enthusiast who loves all things travel and tech. When she’s not writing up her next article, she’s usually hiking or spending a whole afternoon on Pinterest.
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