IT Industry In Bristol: Pros & Cons

by Dan Irascu

IT Industry In Bristol: Pros & Cons

Bristol is one of the most successful cities for tech startups in the UK.  As a matter of fact, the city’s tech industry has a long history, and starting with 2020, the sector is booming. Things got so serious that even the area was name Silicon Gorge. 

Another surprising fact is that Bristol was called the UK’s Leading Smart City back in 2017,  a nomination that one wouldn’t expect from this city. The top was made out of 20 cities around the UK and surprisingly none of the other cities managed to reach the progress Bristol did.  

Also, an interesting fact is that in 2018, Bristol hosted more than 35K digital jobs, and successfully launched 225 startups, according to the Technation report. The growth of the city as a hub for new tech would seem to be a continuation of this long tradition of engineering excellence and innovation.

Today’s success of Bristol in the tech & IT industry was only partially due to the long history of the industry in the area. Another huge contributor to the entire digital ecosystem is companies that promote and highlight the city’s digital behavior and leading innovations.  The mutual support - from companies to the city and vice versa launched many incubators, partnerships, accelerators, and competitions that most of the time work for citizens. 

Projects such as The Engine Shield, SETsqared Partnership, Silicon Gorge Pitching Competition, and Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator marked the city’s digitalization and highly contributed to the economical and financial development of Bristol, but as well as of the entire area. 

In addition, Bristol is the home of several tech giants that also invest and create most of the digital workspaces for the community. Companies such as Nokia, BT, Amazon, Vodafone, or Sony consolidate the IT sector in Bristol and support the tech and IT development as well as launching startup programs, incubators, accelerators, and partnerships as such that were named above.

The Southwestern UK region in IT is dominated by two tech hubs: Bristol and Cardiff. And respectively the only city to compare Bristol is Cardiff. While Bristol is considered one of the leading tech hubs in the UK, Cardiff also benefits from high popularity in the same industry. 

Many companies are struggling to choose their next location or the second office in one of these two cities while planning to expand in the region. This happens because the IT infrastructure is pretty much similar, and big tech companies have offices in both locations.  

Yet, Bristol is considered to lead in specific fields of IT, such as cybersecurity, business development for digital startups, and programming. At the other end of the table, Cardiff is more known for web and graphic design, content marketing, and digital marketing overall. In this way, we can categorize Bristol as a more technical city, and Cardiff as a creative center, even though there is no serious difference between these two. 

In terms of salary competitivity, Bristol surpasses Cardiff. We took as an example the job of a Java developer and compared numbers. The average for Bristol is £57K/yr while in Cardiff is £42K/yr according to glassdoor. Even though the difference is obvious, please keep in mind what was mentioned in the city profile, while one is more technical, the other is more creative. 

All in all, Bristol’s tech industry continues to develop and is expected to grow despite the pandemics in 2020-2021. Yet, the IT boom comes in entire Europe, not only in Bristol, so the leading position that the city has now can only be controlled by the community, the city’s effort, and large investors. 


Dan Irascu

Head of Marketing

Researching, analyzing, and writing insightful stuff is what I do for a long time now at Mobiteam. At TechBehemoths, I put all my experience and knowledge work for IT companies and businesses and help them reach each other.