Sian Williams, Business Manager for our Specialist division, recently visited Bangor University to give a presentation to IT students at the School of Computer Science.
One of the hot topics for discussion that came from Sian’s visit was the realistic prospect of a successful career in IT – not in London, New York, or even Singapore – but right here in North Wales.
Taking the industry as a whole, there has never been a better time to be an IT professional, and, as you’ll see, it’s completely possible to build a strong career right here in North Wales.
Take a look at the top 10 reasons:
1. The IT industry is in crisis and skilled graduates are in high demand
The UK and Europe are in the grip of an acute IT skills shortage which will only get more severe. A recent survey by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) showed that nearly 40% of companies are finding it difficult to recruit workers with the advanced IT skills they are desperately lacking.
Within the software and applications development sector, there is a serious shortage of developers, especially in North Wales, where our own digital economy is blooming.
Computing skills are in huge demand across all industries, as IT plays a key role in all modern companies. Britain’s economic crisis forced many companies to cease recruitment campaigns for a time but forward-thinking organisations were conscious of the importance of an efficient IT department and, now the economy is recovering, the same organisations are focusing their recruitment drives on graduates with high level IT skills.
2. There is a better chance of a career in IT in North Wales because there is less competition
There are fewer candidates applying for IT jobs in North Wales than in the UK’s traditional business centres, such as Manchester and London. Therefore, applicants have a better chance of securing a job, with fewer colleagues competing for promotions.
According to Scott Waddington, Welsh commissioner for the UK Commission for Employment and Skills, there is the worry that as our economic recovery accelerates, Welsh companies may not have the IT skills necessary to take their businesses forward in the twenty-first century marketplace.
He said: “Businesses were recognising that they hadn’t been investing [in skills]. So, it looked that as the economy started to pick up there were going to be skills shortages within businesses, but also where they had skills gaps they were struggling to fill them because the market didn’t have the skills available.”
3. The average size of North Wales businesses means you often work in smaller teams
This is a definite advantage for your career progression. Not only is it nicer to work as part of a close-knit team, your ideas are also far more likely to be heard. You’ll be confident, knowing you are making a valuable contribution to the business, rather than being a faceless figure among hundreds of other developers.
4. North Wales is good for your health – fact!
Industries in North Wales are regulated by Natural Resources Wales and Welsh local authorities issuing Environmental Permits. Conditions are imposed to ensure that toxic emissions are minimised or prevented altogether. Furthermore, our stunning natural landscape and rich cultural heritage means you are more likely to want to go out, get fresh air and exercise. However, with several major cities within easy reach when you need some retail therapy or a taste of the ‘bright lights’, it’s true, you really can have the best of both worlds in North Wales!
5. Stress-free commuting
Yes, we know the A55 is littered with roadworks more often than not but in North Wales you don’t have to run the rat race to get to the office every morning. Here, the crammed inner city chaos of trams, tubes and trains is just an urban myth. But, we’re not completely ‘out in the sticks’ here either – as of July 2014, a direct rail link between North Wales and Liverpool will be reinstated for the first time since the 1970s as part of a £10.4 million UK Government scheme.
6. The cost of living is lower in North Wales than in many other parts of the UK
Salaries in IT are strong right across the UK because candidates are in such short supply and roles in such high demand. A qualified IT professional, recently graduated, can command a starting salary of upwards of £30,000 per annum right here in North Wales. However, with the cost of living so much lower in Wales than in other parts of the country, your salary will go much further.
Not only that but house prices differ dramatically between Wales and the rest of the UK. In October 2014, the UK average house price was £274,000 but in Wales, it was a far more affordable £172,000 on average.
7. Reports show the Welsh enjoy a better work-life balance
North Wales is surrounded by sea and some of Britain’s most beautiful beaches. We’re also lucky enough to live in the shadow of a stunning mountain range, strewn with sparkling clear rivers and expansive, imposing lakes. All this has contributed to the people of Wales reporting a 0.9% higher rate of satisfaction in their lives than those living elsewhere the UK.
With low pollution, a low crime rate and good schools North Wales is the perfect place, not only to establish a career, but to also to bring up a family. Plus, if raising your children here, they’ll grow up bilingual in Welsh and English. This alone brings its own list of benefits, from the easing of making friends to suggested protection from dementia in later life!
8. Exciting developments in the area!
Anglesey is set to become a global pioneer for wind, nuclear and tidal power developments under the Energy Island project and will, thus, present further career opportunities.
Energy Island presents a series of opportunities and challenges. The most obvious opportunities are job creation and supply chain development: Energy Island has the potential to deliver advanced economic development and regeneration through the development of a low carbon economy. This will require engaging individuals and communities to jobs through education. The training provided by Energy Island will place Wales as a leading location for energy research.
9. If you are from the area or have made good friends here you will stay close to them
The benefits of this situation speak for themselves. Everyone hopes to develop a prosperous career, and to do it in a place you feel at home makes you remarkably fortunate. However…
10. If you ever pine for city life, Bangor is within ninety minutes of three of the UK’s biggest cities
North Wales is served by a mainline train service which runs from Holyhead on Anglesey to several major cities. As a result, locals enjoy easy access to some of the biggest and most vibrant cities in the UK and beyond. Cities including Dublin, Liverpool, Manchester, Birmingham and London can all be reached easily by train from North Wales, often with direct links and at reasonable prices.
These are just our ten reasons to stay and build your career in North Wales. We’re certain if you asked the locals they would have ten equally good reasons all of their own! We hope we’ve given you some food for thought and that you’ll consider remaining in North Wales to kick-start a promising and satisfying career in IT.
Get in touch to discuss your next steps.