Manchester still the North's largest tech sector as funding increases to £532 million

Three towers in Manchester's Deansgate Square against a clear blue, slightly cloudy sky
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Manchester has retained its title as the fastest-growing tech hub in the north of England after companies in the region raised more than half a billion pounds worth of funding in 2022.

Funding rose to £532 million for the year, marking a 50% increase on 2021’s figures.

The city now employs more than 60,000 tech workers across more than 1,600 startups and scaleups.

These companies have collectively raised in excess of £1.8 billion in venture capital funding in the last five years, a figure greater than that of rival European cities such as Lisbon, Brussels, Rome, and Warsaw.

“Manchester’s thriving tech startup scene is packed with innovation, fuelled by record levels of funding from 2022 and is outperforming much larger cities on the continent,” said Paul Scully, minister for digital economy at the UK government.

“There are huge opportunities in this city to forge a high-skilled, high-paid career in tech, and my discussions with the region’s business leaders will inform our work to grow the talent pipeline so these industries of the future continue to shine on the global stage.”

More than 50 businesses exist across the city that are dedicated to retraining and upskilling individuals to bolster the region’s tech scene.

Northcoders is based in the heart of Manchester city centre and has more than 1,500 graduates that have pursued careers in software development, web development, and cyber security.

Other organisations work with talent from the region’s universities, supporting budding tech entrepreneurs to launch their businesses in the North West.

Data from job-search site Adzuna also revealed that 25% of all open vacancies in the city were tech-based roles.

Among the most high-profile employers of tech workers in the city are Big Four firms PwC and Deloitte, financial institutions Lloyds Bank and Natwest, and other major companies such as Moonpig, Siemens, Fujitsu, and Softcat.

Software developers were among the most in-demand tech workers, as were data engineers, DevOps engineers, as well as project managers and business analysts.

These are spread across a diverse pool of tech companies since most of the 1,600 startups and scaleups are spread across a broad range of sectors such as cyber security, networking, fintech, and energy.

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The number of vacancies, according to January’s figures, was up 67% on 2020’s data, and average salaries have also risen 5% compared to 2021.

The figures were released as Scully visited Manchester on Tuesday to speak to executives from Booking.com, AutoTrader, and Nexer about how the UK’s central government to continue supporting tech growth in the region.

The visit also coincides with the Digital Skills Festival taking place between 6-10 February.

Run by Manchester Digital, the region’s trade body for the digital and tech sectors, it aims to bring thought leaders, professionals, and job seekers together to raise the profile of Manchester’s tech community while connecting businesses to new talent.

Connor Jones
News and Analysis Editor

Connor Jones has been at the forefront of global cyber security news coverage for the past few years, breaking developments on major stories such as LockBit’s ransomware attack on Royal Mail International, and many others. He has also made sporadic appearances on the ITPro Podcast discussing topics from home desk setups all the way to hacking systems using prosthetic limbs. He has a master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from the University of Sheffield, and has previously written for the likes of Red Bull Esports and UNILAD tech during his career that started in 2015.