We love the beautiful south coast – the name says it all! In Bournemouth in particular there’s the beautiful scenery, thriving nightlife, great restaurants and many things to do – plus you are only two hours from London by train, which was where all the digital talent tended to head. Not any more however, with the news released last month that Bournemouth has now in fact over taken London as the UK’s fastest growing digital economy.
So why is Bournemouth suddenly a hotbed of digital talent? Well, we have an excellent university right on our doorstep for starters, providing skilled workers directly into the gaming and marketing industries. This is key as limited access to skilled staff could halt growth – many digital firms have clustered around universities to increase access to the potential employees. New research commissioned by Barclays’ Technology, Media and Telecoms team found that 21% of UK high-growth technology firms struggle to find staff with the right digital skills.
It’s also home to a large number of digital start-up businesses – according to the Tech Nation project (which looked at how the technology industry is growing across the UK) these grew 212 % between 2010 and 2013. These are supported by facilities like the Open Device Lab – a free-to-use resource in the heart of Bournemouth for testing and developing on modern devices and events like the popular Silicon Beach conference, which draws together the UK’s ‘leading strategic thinkers, digital innovators and people who look at brands’ in one place for a yearly two day event.
We also believe it’s due to the creative culture in Bournemouth – it’s a place that people WANT to stay in when they leave university, not because they have to but because they feel it’s a place where their talents can be nurtured and developed. As the number of companies in the local digital industry have grown, the opportunities are there for career progression within the same city, making it Bournemouth the place where younger workers want to settle down. It’s also a tempting place for those wanting to find that elusive work life balance – you can finish work and go for a surf, explore the new forest or simply go for a beer on the beach – after all, the beautiful California coastline didn’t exactly hinder the progress of Silicon Valley!