North-South IT Pay Gap Narrows in Britain

Tech wages are growing faster in the north of England, but the average annual pay is still just 69% of what it is in London

IT wages are growing faster up North than in London but tech workers in the capital still enjoy considerably higher salaries than their northerly brethren.

Pay rates for tech workers in the North of England are growing 29.7 per cent faster than for London-based staff, according to IT staffing company ReThink Recruitment. Salaries for IT pros in the North grew 4.8 per cent last year, compared to 3.7 per cent for Londoners.

But the average yearly wage for IT professionals in the North is now £33,333, compared to £44,200 for a Londoner -- meaning tech workers in the North earn 69 per cent of the average salary pocketed by their counterparts in the capital.

ReThink Recruitment said northerly regeneration -- coupled with the rising cost of living in the South -- has helped make the North of England a more desirable location for employers, which in turn has led to increased demand for high tech skills, pushing up wages.

Jon Butterfield, MD of ReThink Recruitment, said in a statement: "Skills shortages are an important factor driving wage rises for IT professionals in the North, where rapid growth of high tech industries is far outstripping supply of skills. Employers are offering big incentives to draw IT staff away from the South East, which tends to be a magnet for technology professionals."

The company predicts the North-South IT pay gap will narrow further as more technology businesses and government departments bolster their presence in cities such as Manchester. Advances in mobile and wireless technology are also playing a part in levelling the playing field across the UK, it added.

Butterfield said: "The IT industry is moving towards remote, flexible working at a rapid pace, which is eroding traditional geographical constraints, such as the North-South divide. So much work can now be accomplished offsite that the IT workforce is becoming increasingly dispersed."

The North may also have added advantage over London and the South East in the current nervy economic climate. Butterfield said IT pros in London are "highly dependent on the health of the financial services industry" -- which means the credit crunch could hit London tech workers harder than those in the North.

The narrowing of the North-South pay gap for IT workers is in contrast to other areas such as financial services where the gap has widened rapidly in recent years -- financial services workers in the North earn just 44 per cent of London salaries, compared to 57 per cent back in 2002, said ReThink Recruitment.

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