02 Mar 2017

London is not the only way when it when it comes to digital careers


​Seventeen years is a long time in digital. Back in 2000 when we launched Propel we knew we had to be in London and we knew that we had to be in Soho. Back then you could reasonably assume that the majority UK digital scene was pretty much all based between Shaftesbury Avenue and Oxford Street. And if you weren’t there you were still somewhere in Central London tapping away on a massive laptop and tying to impress people with your Nokia 3310.

Fast forward to 2017 and its incredible to look at whats happened. I’m not talking about the bizarre reinvention of the 3310 but the evolution of the digital sector. As both the sector and those within it have matured, we see a very different digital industry. It’s a huge part of our national economy generating a massive £161billion in 2016. Its growing 32% faster than the rest of the economy. And guess what. That’s not just from London! Indeed , according to the 2016 Tech Nation Report 75% of digital technology businesses are outside of London.

Let’s look a bit closer at the area that we at Propel West are working in. Reading and Bracknell is now recognised as a fast growing digital cluster. Its home to companies such as Cisco, Huawei and Microsoft. It had a turnover of over £10billion last year. That’s a pretty hefty sum! Take a look at Southampton. Its digital turnover has risen 180% since 2010. Take a look at Bournemouth that is now the digital startup capital of the UK.

And lastly lets take a look at Guildford. Guildford is home to the WXG event on the 23rd March and Propel are proud to be sponsoring the event. This is part of our effort to let people know that there is digital life outside London. Yes it’s the same week as Advertising Week London but to me that only makes it more attractive. We are proud of our Soho heritage but we are also aware that there’s plenty more going on. What we can see is that there is a thriving market outside the capital. There are 27 key digital tech clusters across the UK.The majority of digital tech clusters have seen growth in recent years. In fact, in almost all clusters, the local digital tech industries have outpaced all others on nearly every economic measure.

What links all these clusters is that they are worried about a digital skills shortage. They worry about where to find qualified and experienced staff. One answer might just be London. As I mentioned earlier, Its not only the market that has matured, its also those within it. They have grown up, had families, moved out of their flats and out of London. Instead of jumping on the bus to work they jump on an expensive crowded commuter train.

My message to you is that there are other options. Theres a huge digital economy outside of the capital. No need to commute, no need for the tube. Why not come to see us at WXG and see what your options could be.

Propel are proud sponsors of WXG In Guildford. More details can be found at


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