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East of England tops UK tech salary list

Towards the end of 2019, we conducted a salary survey focused on C-suite compensation in high-growth UK tech companies. Whilst much of the data was aligned with our day-to-day experience, there were some surprising results: one of which was that London did not emerge as the highest-paid UK region.

Geography is a well-known influencing factor on remuneration, and plenty of studies have highlighted the discrepancies between average earnings in the capital and the rest of the nation. However, in our report, London and the South East were kept from the top spot by the East of England.


​Average C- Suite Basic Salary

Scotland / Wales / N. Ireland


North West England


North East England / Yorks & Humber


South West England


Midlands (West & East)


London / South East England


East of England


This region is home to a significant tech cluster in Cambridge that attracts considerable talent from around the world, so perhaps the higher average pay is not that remarkable – but it is representative of a wider shift in the way tech ventures approach compensation.

Increasingly, companies and their investors are recognising the need to be competitive in a global talent marketplace. In most cases, ambitious businesses set their hiring budgets based on broader salary trends, rather than letting their location influence what they should offer.

It is an approach that pays off. Creating a high-growth company requires access to the very best people – and so businesses that are able to attract, incentivise and retain proven A-players have a distinct advantage.

This is evidenced in Beauhurst’s 2019 report on Britain’s Fastest Growing Businesses, where the East of England surge is also highlighted:

“The East of England is on the rise. It’s now home to 12 of the UK’s fastest growing companies, compared to just five in 2017… Seven of the Top 100 companies are based in Silicon Fen: Cambridge. The university city has built an impressive cluster of medical and deep technology companies”

Within the Top 100, 86% of the fastest-growing companies are based in the South of England – and it’s not too much of a stretch to draw a parallel between this and the North/South salary divide that remains evident in our own findings.

Recognising the need to be competitive in order to attract the right calibre of talent is one thing – but there are limits to what start-ups and scale-ups can offer by way of compensation. Most ventures need to raise funds in order to make key hires – and investment has, historically, been easier to come by in London and the South. However, this landscape is also shifting – data from British Business Bank reveals that equity investment in companies outside of London increased by 29% in 2018 to £2.8bn. This was driven by growing deal sizes in key regions including the North East, West Midlands and the East of England. Furthermore, whilst the overall number of equity deals in the UK fell in 2018, many areas saw this figure rise – with the biggest increases coming from the North East and Yorkshire & Humber.

If this trend continues, the high-growth tech sector could see a levelling of the playing field across all regions before too long. Our salary survey supports this notion – especially at the highest levels of leadership where regional discrepancies are even less pronounced. We compared the average basic pay for non-founding CEOs in London against the rest of the UK, and the difference is slight at 0.4%.

Non-Founding CEOs, average base salary:

London: £153,800

Rest of UK: £153,230

Today, there is greater flexibility in the way people work and relocation is not uncommon. As such, with the right proposition, it’s more feasible than ever for senior hires to be sourced from outside a company’s immediate geography - thus expanding the talent pool and increasing the potential for growth.


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