Top tech cities for those looking to leave London behind

As the largest and fastest growing tech hub in the UK, London may seem like the only option for those interested in a career in digital. However, with the big smoke becoming increasingly unaffordable for young professionals, it is understandable why so many are venturing to other booming tech cities in the UK. To help, we have selected the top tech cities for those looking to leave London behind.

1. Manchester

CBRE claims that Manchester is in fact the UK’s top tech city, with the largest number of tech businesses, average salaries of over £47,000 and its digital sector is worth £2.9 billion. Manchester is the ideal location for those looking to specialise in media thanks to it being home to Media City, a 200-acre development which houses the BBC and ITV studios.

Something to consider is that Manchester’s growth rate is 10% slower than our very own Birmingham’s. Therefore, it is possibly not the preferred location for young professionals who are searching for the most prosperous hub.

2. Bristol and Bath

With over 35,000 people working in tech, Bristol and Bath are another two of the UK’s booming hubs. Bristol is home to the country’s largest robotics lab BRL, and Rocketmakers, an award-winning tech design company (their clients include Microsoft and O2), is located in Bath.

Despite the average salary for tech workers in Bristol and Bath surpassing £47,000, the cost of living (£740 average rent for a 1 bed flat) is steeper than in Birmingham (£638) and Manchester (£634) – but it’s still cheaper than London!

3. Birmingham

According to recent data from, Birmingham is the best place outside of London to develop a career within the digital industry. The city has an industry growth rate of 33% and average salaries of over £43,000. In addition, Birmingham also has a lower cost of living than London and many South East Locations. It is therefore no surprise that more than 6,000 people left London last year to work in Birmingham’s tech industry.

Neil Rami, Chief Executive at the West Midlands Growth Company, has since added:

“[this data] reinforces Birmingham’s reputation as a world-class, burgeoning hub for tech and digital. The city has more incubators and accelerator programmes than any other city outside London, a dynamic, young talent pool and a host of unique, co-working spaces to support growing tech firms”

This data is likely to be boosted even more by security specialist, Intercity Technology. The IT giant plans to invest over £2 million into the Birmingham area within the next year, beginning with the construction of its flagship data centre. This should create some exciting opportunities!

From Leeds to Edinburgh to those listed above, there are so many thriving tech cities in the UK that are great alternatives to London. While Birmingham is our top choice, we encourage you to continue evaluating each location to determine which is most likely to fulfil your career ambitions.

Grads, get a head-start on the 9-5 with these life tips

With the end of your University career in touching distance, now is the time to think about making some minor life adjustments from those late nights and lie-ins to ease you into the daily grind.

The working world can come as a bit of a shock when you are used to life on your own schedule. After all, there is no skipping your 9am when you have a team relying on you. As you enter the world of work, your aim should be to make the minor adjustments that enable you to ensure you remain productive and proactive. To help you achieve that, we have thought about some top tips to help you out:


1.    Get prepared 

Whether you have a job lined up or not, getting into the 9-5 routine early on will make the transition much smoother. Remember, looking for that first role out of University is a job in itself. By sticking to a routine and getting into the right frame of mind early on will make your first few weeks that little bit easier.


2.    Assume the mindset

As you enter the working world, you will be surprised how far you will go by maintaining a positive and proactive mindset. By being open to feedback, remaining flexible and resilient to failure, you will find yourself progressing into the working world much more successfully. 


3.    Research the culture

Do what you can you investigate the culture at your new place of work. Tools like Glassdoor and LinkedIn as well as asking the right questions in your interview can really help give you an inside look at the culture in your new office. Make sure it’s a right fit for you, and ahead of your first day, think about how you can involve yourself and contribute.


4.    Rest up!

It may seem simple, but getting into a healthy sleep routine can really make a difference when it comes to cognitive performance, boosting short-term memory, and just generally feeling perkier! So switch up the party lifestyle sooner rather than later to ensure you hit the ground running in your new role.


5.    Reward yourself 

While you should be keen to make an impact in your first role, you should also remember to make time for yourself. Whichever way you let your hair down, make sure you leave time for it in your week – you may need to be more structured with your day, but that doesn’t mean it’s all work and no play. 

Making the transition from University to the working world is rich with fresh challenges and experiences to navigate, by keeping these tips in mind when embarking on this journey you will set yourself up for success. It is an exciting time and the start of potentially one of the most significant adventures of your life!

To find out about the latest career opportunities with ESA Group, keep an eye on our blog and LinkedIn page.

Join ESA Group: Graduate Trainee Recruitment Consultant


Are you a hard-working, ambitious graduate looking to set yourself up on a high trajectory start to your career?

If yes, then ESA Group wants to hear from you. We are specialist recruitment consultants, sourcing the best tech and digital talent for some of the biggest businesses in the Midlands and beyond.

We’re looking for six ambitious, driven, high achievers to join us from September as Graduate Trainee Recruitment Consultant.

In return for your commitment and dedication, you will be rewarded with a competitive starting salary plus impressive commission, with an additional pay rise following successful completion of your probation.

To give you an idea one of our recent starters earns over £35k.

Alongside your starting salary and generous commission structure, you will benefit from a comprehensive training program, flexible working, monthly lunch clubs and incredible opportunities to grow with the organisation, making the fast progression to director level a possibility.

ESA Group, which was founded in 2014 and regularly works with household names including Purple Bricks, Claire’s accessories, NEC Group and Gymshark, is centrally located at Birmingham’s Colmore Building.

As well as its fantastic central location, this new development benefits from a host of envy-inducing amenities such a state-of-the-art 6,000 sq. ft. gym, an on-site all day coffee house serving breakfast, lunch and snacks, beauty treatment rooms, doctors surgery, and even a dry cleaning service.

If this sounds like the start your career needs then email a CV and a covering letter to

What’s in it for you:

● Competitive starting salary plus commission scheme and pay rise following probation

● Clear career trajectory and opportunities for swift promotion.

● Outstanding workplace with on-site gym, café, doctors surgery and beauty treatment rooms.

● Flexible working as standard.

● Supportive team promoting a true team-player culture.

● A robust and structured training plan.

What we are looking for:

● No recruitment experience necessary and we welcome candidates from all degree levels

● Excellent communication skills

● An ability to build relationships

● Ambitious characteristics with a drive to succeed

● Good decision-making skills within fast-paced working environments

If you believe you have the required skills and attributes to join us as Graduate Trainee Recruitment Consultant, then apply online ASAP. Email a CV and a covering letter to

Closing date: 01/07/2019

Why everything you've heard about recruitment probably isn't true


Recruitment, like other sales-based roles, has a reputation for high-pressure working environments with consultants chasing the commission, seemingly at any cost. There’s no doubt we’re target-driven and tenacious (after all, who doesn’t like to be recognised for a job well done?) – yet a career in this industry offers plenty more rewards beyond the financial. 

 As a graduate, who has spent the past three years in higher education, recruitment might seem like a big leap into the unknown. But choose the right employer and you’ll soon find the negative perceptions are unfounded, as our myth-busting guide proves.


‘People are only motivated by money’

 It is certainly true that there are opportunities to earn big money, and that’s no bad thing. Most recruiters love the challenge of hitting their targets and securing a bonus, so it isn’t a career for those who plod along, only willing to do the bare minimum.

 Unless you are a volume recruiter, who helps companies take on high numbers of workers often to meet seasonal demand, you won’t sit at your desk making call after call. 

 Recruiting for more specialist roles, you still speak to candidates and clients on the phone (and use LinkedIn), but you’ll also build relationships that sometimes last for years. Strong recruiters are able to closely align candidates’ skills to clients’ needs, so new hires stay in the job for longer. 


‘It’s stressful’

 There are always days when your adrenaline is pumping, although you’ll be pleased to know the days of ‘sweatshop’ style offices are long gone. 

 In order to attract the top talent (that’s you!), good employers know they need to create attractive working environments and have a clear set of company values. Our values – integrity, empathy, focus and pride– are at the centre of everything we do and alongside regular perks and staff socials, we promote flexible working, along with employee health and wellbeing.   


‘My boss will see me as a money-making machine’

 The best managers support their teams and want them to perform well but not at the expense of their mental or physical health. We’re not afraid to tell our consultants to take a holiday if it looks like they are putting themselves under too much pressure, for example.

 Rather than letting juniors take on impossibly heavy workloads, a good boss will pick up the phone and speak to clients and candidates directly. They lead by example, which enables you to develop skills and confidence.  


‘I won’t be supported’

 Unlike some industries, ambitious recruiters rarely get stuck in a rut – the problem is you can sometimes move up the ranks too quickly. There’s nothing wrong with having your eye on a managerial role, as long as you have the right experience. It can take two years for someone to become an effective manager, which is why we believe a phased approach – where you mentor juniors first – works best. 

 At every job interview, ask how you will be supported and make sure your employer fulfils any promise they make once you’ve started. 


‘My degree subject isn’t relevant’

 Some degrees, like management and business studies, might seem more relevant to a career in recruitment, but any subjects helps you develop valuable skills, like problem-solving and understanding complex concepts.

 Your degree subject could also be relevant if you work in a specialist area of recruitment, like tech or marketing, because you’ll have a better understanding of your clients and candidates. Don’t forget, customer-facing or admin jobs you had while at university, as well as voluntary work, will bolster your skillset too.  

 To find out about the latest career opportunities with ESA Group, keep an eye on our blog and Linkedin page.

Why every MD should lead by example


‘In the competitive and rapidly-evolving recruitment industry, there is no room for managing directors who do not roll their sleeves up and get stuck into billable work’ – Andrew Stocks

Hands-on MDs are essential for the recruiting industry, where demand for highly-specialist skills is always changing. However, bosses can often appear too remote, out of touch with what’s happening on the ground in their consultancy’s specialist industry. At ESA Group, we think they should be seen on the phone, speaking directly to candidates and clients, remaining involved in the recruiting process and the general day-to-day tasks.

After all, someone who combines years of recruitment experience with up-to-date industry knowledge is well-placed to match a candidate’s unique skill-set to more niche positions. It is therefore essential that they speak the language of businesses they represent and be as confident interviewing a potential CEO as they are speaking to an entry-level developer.

It is also really important that strong leaders demonstrate a strong work ethic and close understanding of what clients need right now.

We believe there is tremendous value in showing your team that you are still involved in every aspect of the company. By breaking down hierarchies, you can ensure that people feel supported at every stage; sharing in their frustrations and embracing the sense of satisfaction that comes with a successful hire.

Open-door culture promotes shared learning at ESA Group. It goes without saying that junior consultants benefit from shadowing those who have been in the profession for longer, right up to director level. However, MDs can learn a lot from their younger colleagues too. Fostering an open-door culture means senior managers are more likely to hear about the latest trends, observe the dynamics of their team and spot talent within their workforce, enabling them to nurture and take full advantage of their team.

Recruitment, like other industries, has become an extremely social profession. Using platforms such as LinkedIn allow you to stay in touch with candidates beyond the initial hire. For example, if a candidate you placed years ago drops you a message, this time as a client, it is an opportunity to build on a pre-existing relationship. It expresses to the client, candidate and your own team, the level of care in your work, proving that you value your candidates and clients time.

At ESA Group we firmly believe it is essential that MDs keep the latest industry developments and insights at the forefront of their minds. This equates to remaining involved in the operational side of the business, to help secure clients and guide and support their team. Of the 40,000 or so recruitment consultancies operating in the UK today, the winners will be those who commit their whole team to staying close to their markets.

We’re hiring!


Are you looking for an opportunity to further your career with a fast-growing, UK-wide recruitment specialist?

ESA Group specialises in placing top talent around the country in marketing, technology, and sales roles. As we continue to grow our service offering and global reach, we are interested in hearing from consultants with experience in recruiting across all professional services sectors, also including finance, procurement, supply chain, engineering and financial services.

This year, we are embarking on a period of significant change. We are saying goodbye to our old home in Edgbaston, and relocating to the centre of Birmingham’s bustling commercial district. From this March, we will be found at the newly launched Colmore Building.

As well as its fantastic central location, this new development benefits from a host of envy-inducing amenities such a state-of-the-art 6,000 sq. ft. gym, an on-site all day coffee house serving breakfast, lunch and snacks, beauty treatment rooms, doctors surgery, and even a dry cleaning service.

In taking on this extensive space, we are setting ourselves the bold target of doubling our current number of consultants in 2019. We are already off to a flying start this year, celebrating record turnover and profit figures in January, and this is only the beginning.

With this great change, comes great opportunity. Which is where you come in.

We take great pride in our consultants, nurturing their talent to encourage growth within our business. Now is a particularly crucial time to join ESA Group, as those joining the business now will have the potential to secure a management position in the coming years.

This is an exciting time in our history; so if you are looking to build your career in recruitment at a leading global specialist, then apply today.

For more information, call the team on 0121 516 3850.