Part 1: International Talent /

By geography

London has the highest share of non-UK workers in the tech workforce compared to the rest of the UK at 31%

Share of employment (Average 2011-2015) by UK region 1

Region Rest of EU Non-EU UK
All other regions 3% 3% 94%
East Midlands 4% 3% 93%
Scotland 5% 5% 90%
West Midlands 2% 3% 95%
North West 2% 4% 94%
South West 2% 3% 95%
East of England 5% 4% 91%
London 11% 20% 69%
South East 5% 7% 88%

London also accounts for a large proportion of all international workers in the UK. Around one fifth of the digital tech industry workforce is based in London – 164,000 workers of the 881,000 workers employed in digital tech industries in the UK (2011-2015 average) 2

London, in particular has a significantly higher EU workforce than other UK regions. EU workers account for 11 per cent of employment in the tech sector compared to, for example, 5 per cent in the East of England and 2 per cent in the West Midlands 3.

Non-EU nationals are a larger percentage still at 20 per cent of digital tech industry employment.

There may be several reasons behind these findings. London is home to a significant proportion of the UK’s digital tech labour market opportunities reflecting competition for talent and a greater need for specialised skills in hotspots of digital tech activity.

The higher share of international employment in London provides evidence that employer demand for tech skills outstrips the supply in the capital with employers as a result using non-UK talent to address skills shortages. Research has also found that London has a well-established tech startup ecosystem 4London’s status as a world city with a diverse population and large number of cultural amenities is also likely to influence businesses’ propensity to locate in London 5 6



  1. The shares are based on digital tech workers defined as workers who had either a main or second job in the digital tech industries listed here. Region of a worker is defined in terms of the place of residence, as opposed to place of work.
  2. Tech Nation 2016 highlights that there are 1.56 million digital tech economy jobs in the UK. The difference in the number of digital tech jobs in the UK quoted here is down to definition differences. Tech Nation 2016 covers digital tech economy jobs which includes digital tech jobs in non-digital tech industries – digital tech industry jobs excludes people who work outside these industries (see here).
  3. The statistic in the table for all other UK regions is an average across all the remaining regions, owing to small sample sizes
  4. See Nathan, M. and Vandore, E. (2014) Here Be Startups: Exploring London’s ‘Tech City’ Digital Cluster Environment and Planning A, 46(10), 2283-2299. and Foord, J. (2013) The new boomtown? Creative city to Tech City in east London. Cities, 33, 51-60.
  5. Bathelt,H., Malmberf,A., and Maskell, P. (2004) Clusters and knowledge: local buzz, global pipelines and the process of knowledge creation. Progress in human geography, 21 (1), 31-56.
  6. See Lee, N., and Nathan, M. (2011) Does cultural diversity help innovation in cities: evidence from London firms. SERC discussion paper 69.

Tech Nation Talent

A four-part series of reports on the talent and skills dynamics of the UK tech sector.

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International talent report Infographic