Revealed: UK’s top five ‘telco’ cities for IT contractors

The telecommunications sector is evolving rapidly, with technological advancements shaping how businesses and consumers communicate.

In the UK, specific cities are right now standing out as hotspots for IT contractors, writes Pendy Hou, a delivery team leader at First Point Group.

 At the time of writing, here are the top five UK cities that IT contractors are eager to work in -- or should be eager to work in -- due to their strong telecommunications credentials.

1. London

It might be the most obvious inclusion here, but the allure of London as a hotbed for IT contractors wanting temporary assignments with telecoms companies (‘telcos’) cannot be understated.

As the UK’s capital city, it naturally attracts top-tier businesses and talent, and its strategic location with world-class transport links make it easily commutable. The presence of a significant amount of fibre and broadband work (such as FTTP) also makes it attractive. Companies commonly on the recruitment rounds for IT contractors include Vodafone and Colt Technology Services

2. Reading

A significant number of telcos have set up their base in or around Reading such as Three (3) owned by Hutchinson Whampoa.

The introduction of the Elizabeth Line has enhanced its commutability. And situated in the M4 corridor, Reading offers a cost-effective alternative for telecoms businesses looking for office space without the London price tag.

Accommodation prices are cheaper than in London too, meaning IT contractors and their decision-makers find Reading a more cost-effective place to live. As well as Three UK, Ericsson is the telco hirer of note here.

3. Bristol

A primary city along the M4 corridor, making access not an issue, Bristol is home to key telco operators and solutions providers.

Right now, service providers are opting to set up offices closer to their customer bases, adding to the city's appeal. Companies keen on recruiting IT contractors in Bristol include BT and Telent.

4. Manchester

Often referred to as the powerhouse of the Northwest, Manchester is a pivotal city for many sectors, and telecommunications is no exception.

Manchester’s strategic location and business-friendly environment make it an attractive place for telcos and IT contractors alike. Companies intaking contractors in Manchester include BT and WHP.

5. Cambridge

Cambridge is known for its emphasis on research and development, with telecoms and technology generally.

The city’s proximity to both London and the Midlands gives it a strategic edge, so it’s a favourite of start-ups.

Thanks to its blend of academia and industry, Cambridge offers unique opportunities for those in the telco sector. The corporate darlings of Cambridge’s telco scene, from a hiring standpoint, include Huawei and Citrix.

Why the surge for IT contractors in these top five telco cities?

The decision to work in or relocate to these cities isn't made lightly. A significant proportion of professionals prefer to work close to home, avoiding the disruptions and costs associated with moving. This sentiment is especially strong among IT contractors who often juggle multiple projects and clients.

Moreover, while London has its distinct allure, especially for non-UK contractors, not everyone wants to be based in the bustling capital. Many freelance professionals prefer cities that are away from the ‘Big Smoke’ but still aren’t too distant, allowing for feasible commutes. This balance between work and personal life is a key consideration for both IT and telco contractors alike.

In today's work environment, the preference for remote work has become pronounced, and has accelerated since covid. Many IT contractors would choose to work the majority of the week from the comfort of their own homes. Telco clients, recognising the benefits of flexibility, often subscribe to the notion that ‘the more remote work, the better,’ as long as productivity remains uncompromised, and the supply of services/products/consultancy is seamless enabled with good connectivity -- which the five cities above are known for.

Lastly, a genuine nexus…

The UK's telecommunications landscape is dynamic and offers numerous opportunities for IT contractors. While London remains a significant player, cities like Reading, Bristol, Manchester, and Cambridge have carved out niches for themselves, making themselves prime locations for those keen on working with telcos. As the sector grows and evolves, these cities will undoubtedly play pivotal roles in shaping the future of telecommunications in the UK.

Tuesday 12th Sep 2023
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Written by Pendy Hou

Since 2014, Pendy has been recruiting in the telecoms sector specialising in placing contractors and permanent telecom professionals within the UK and European market. Having placed candidates in a variety of telecom companies, he recruits into some of the world’s leading enterprises. Pendy's clients value his speed in finding candidates with skill-sets that are in shortage areas such as 5G site delivery, design and cloud/virtualised core. Whereas, his candidates rely on his telecoms and technology market expertise to connect them with the best job opportunities on offer.

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