Techxit: Three quarters of Britain’s Digital workforce prepared to leave UK for work

75% of British digital workers said they would be willing to leave the UK for work, compared to 61% of the general population London ranks as the most attractive city for tech workers worldwide, while the UK is fifth most attractive country overall Findings from a global study of 27,000 digital experts call for Government and companies to work harder to attract and retain top digital talent and upskill their current workforce

London—While London ranks as the most attractive city in the world for the global tech industry, three out of four UK digital workers (75%) are willing to leave for pastures new overseas. Digital experts are among the most in-demand workers but due to the transferable nature of tech skills, they are also among those most prepared to relocate, compared to only 61% of non-tech workers who would be willing to make the move overseas.

UK tech talent’s inclination to move abroad for work is similar to that of digital experts based elsewhere, with two-thirds of the global tech workforce admitting they’re prepared to move. While London may be the tech industry’s favoured city, the UK on the whole is less attractive than its capital and must continue to compete with other markets in order to recruit and retain the digital experts who are crucial to the country’s economic development.

The findings come from one of the largest ever global studies of tech and digital workers, surveying 27,000 experts by management consultancy, Boston Consulting Group and leading UK job board Totaljobs as part of global talent hub The Network.

UK employers must act to attract and retain digital experts

The study highlights the key factors that the UK digital workforce are looking for in a job. Most important is a healthy work-life balance (1st), followed by good relationships with their peers (2nd) and with their managers (3rd). The research shows workers are more concerned with well-being and human interaction at work, rather than financial compensation which was ranked less important (5th).

In contrast to their overseas peers, who placed it as the second most important factor at work, learning and development ranked just eighth for UK tech workers. The results show that British digital talent place more value in the day-to-day operations of their work, favouring more interesting and dynamic roles above training.

Meanwhile, contrary to popular belief, digital experts across the world were shown to favour working in large companies with a wider network of opportunities rather than smaller start-ups.

Alexandra Sydney, Group Marketing Director at Totaljobs said: “This research has identified that tech workers across the world, particularly those in the UK, know what they’re looking for and aren't afraid to move countries to find it. The UK technology sector is growing 2.5x faster than the overall economy and is worth nearly £184 billion of the UK’s GDP. This means that there's an onus on employers to increase employee attraction and retention to ensure the UK has enough digital talent to cope with demand.

“Any employer looking to attract and keep hold of tech talent should look to create a workplace that encourages a positive and productive outlook; key demands for the UK workforce. By fostering a good work-life balance, alongside an open, friendly culture, employers can ensure that they retain skilled digital workers.”

Nick South, Partner & Managing Director at BCG said: “The digital workforce is highly skilled, highly mobile and in high demand. 75% of digital workers in the UK are willing to move abroad for work, which is more than other UK workers. Whilst it is good news that London remains the most attractive city in the world for tech workers globally, UK companies – and the country as a whole – have to think very smartly about how we attract and retain the best UK and global digital talent – or they will vote with their feet.”

Similarly, to the UK, more than three-quarters of the tech workforce in places such as India and Brazil would relocate for work. By contrast, only 55% of non-tech workers globally would be likely to move. Whilst willingness to move is highest for digital experts in developing economies, fewer than one in four (38%) of the tech workforce in China would consider such a move.

This latest study, Decoding Digital Talent, is part of the ongoing Decoding Global Talent series from BCG (one of the world’s leading management consultancies), Totaljobs (one of the UK’s leading jobs boards) and The Network (a global alliance of more than 50 leading recruitment websites). 27,000 people were polled in 180 countries with expert-level knowledge in such skills as programming and web development, mobile application development, artificial intelligence, and robotics and engineering. Research was conducted February to April 2018.


Top five cities for tech and digital experts:

  1. London
  2. New York City
  3. Berlin
  4. Amsterdam
  5. Barcelona

Top five countries for tech and digital experts:

  1. USA
  2. Germany
  3. Canada
  4. Australia
  5. United Kingdom

The Research:

A copy of the report can be downloaded here.

To arrange an interview with one of the authors, please contact:

BCG- Rebecca Cummins: +44 207 753 8383 or

Totaljobs - Red Consultancy: +44 (0)20 7025 6500 or

About Totaljobs

Formed in 1999, Totaljobs is one of UK’s leading job boards, attracting 20 million visits and over 4.3 million applications from qualified jobseekers every month. Over 300,000 jobseekers visit our platform every day, with over 270,000 jobs to choose from at any given time.

In May 2018, Totaljobs partnered with Jobsite to become the UK’s largest hiring platform offering employers the opportunity to advertise vacancies across both platforms from one system, and access to almost half of the UK working population.

Totaljobs and Jobsite are part of the StepStone Group, one of the world’s leading e-recruitment businesses. With a head office in London and offices in Birmingham, Havant, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham and Glasgow, StepStone in the UK comprises Totaljobs and Jobsite plus nine additional job boards. These include:, CatererGlobal, CWJobs, Milkround, CityJobs, RetailChoice, CareerStructure, JustEngineers and emedcareers. Together these brands provide access to over 18 million searchable candidate profiles. Visit the Totaljobs website:

About The Network

The Network is a global alliance of more than 50 leading recruitment websites, committed to finding the best talent in over 130 countries. Founded in 2002, The Network has become the global leader in online recruitment, serving more than 2,000 global corporations. We offer these corporations a single point of contact in their home countries and allow them to work in a single currency and with a single contract—while giving them access to a global workforce. The recruitment websites in The Network attract almost 200 million unique visitors each month. For more information, please visit

About Boston Consulting Group

Boston Consulting Group partners with leaders in business and society to tackle their most important challenges and capture their greatest opportunities. BCG was the pioneer in business strategy when it was founded in 1963. Today, we help clients with total transformation—inspiring complex change, enabling organizations to grow, building competitive advantage, and driving bottom-line impact.

To succeed, organizations must blend digital and human capabilities. Our diverse, global teams bring deep industry and functional expertise and a range of perspectives to spark change. BCG delivers solutions through leading-edge management consulting along with technology and design, corporate and digital ventures—and business purpose. We work in a uniquely collaborative model across the firm and throughout all levels of the client organization, generating results that allow our clients to thrive.

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