The Making Data Work Blog

How We're Making Data Work For.. Brighton's Digital Jobs

[fa icon="calendar"] 22-May-2017 12:15:45 / by Robert Bramwell

Robert Bramwell


Have you ever wondered how valuable your professional skills are? We've been working on exactly that: quantifying the demand for workers with digital skills in our local area. 

 We're interested in what it takes to work in the digital industries and what the future holds for digital jobseekers. 

CDO have partnered with Wired Sussex to provide analytics support for their Talent2017 event, leveraging data to the benefit of jobseekers, employers and non-profits in East Sussex. We used simple data science tools like R, Tableau and Alteryx to quickly understand the balance between jobseekers and vacancies in our area. 

Wired Sussex is a Brighton-based membership organisation for companies and freelancers operating in the digital, media and technology sector in Sussex, UK. They work to help their members create, innovate and grow.  In March they held Talent2017, a skills festival centered around attracting, training and retaining talent.  

Talent2017 is necessary because the skills gap for businesses is evident: according to this recent report, Brighton is fast becoming the premier place for jobseeking. The city has shot up the job growth rankings this quarter to 1st place in the UK with a staggering year-on-year increase in vacancies of 22.9%. Given that Brighton lags behind other cities in numbers of applications (a 21% quarter-on-quarter growth compared to 35%+ in cities such as Birmingham & Bristol),  it is unsurprising that Brighton enjoyed Britain's fastest growth in advertised salaries this quarter, a 7.6% increase between Q4 2016 and Q1 2017. 

Additionally, workers tend to report that Brightonian employment offers more than just money: 

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 14.48.16.png

Source: The Brighton Fuse Report


Overall, the demand for labour in the south east is looking positive. Additionally, the national growth in digital jobs has been double that of non-digital jobs in the last five years. This growth has manifested itself in a particular way in Brighton, as we found out from our data.

Wired Sussex provide a jobs board online which is updated with hundreds of vacancies every month. As part of our analytics campaign for Talent2017, we took a look at their jobs data comprising of just under 14,000 listings spanning 17 years. 

We found that Brighton has a rich and diverse set of digital roles, ranging from interns to directors: 

Popular job titles.png


Here we see that the majority of titles are associated with mid-level professional jobs where a reasonable level of training and soft skills are required. 

 Web development and marketing make up the largest fields of digital roles: 

Digital Industries.png


With the generic keyword "Business" falling into third place. Naturally most of the jobs listed are in a business capacity, so roles with "Business" in the title generally relate to jobs like Business Analyst, and Business-to-Business Sales Agent.  

So for those looking to enter the digital workplace, the odds are that you'll be looking at becoming a developer, manager or designer in the web or marketing fields. But what skills do these jobs require? The most commonly mentioned tools and technologies across these fields are PHP & Java: 

Languages & technologies-1.png


Although some fields like web development will be more likely to report particular languages required e.g PHP Developer, others such as Data Scientists find languages tend not to be specified in job titles. 

Within particular roles, we found that the skills required can vary greatly depending on the application. There are many specialised fields within developing that utilise different technologies:

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 Brighton has a reputation for a strong connection for fusing the creative and digital industries which is evident in the chart above. Specific skills tend to be required in social media and IT support, and languages like HTML appear to be required in website creation & creative jobs, but less so in content creation like marketing and social media. 

For more info on the movements and trends of particular programming languages, the TIOBE index compiles language popularity from around the internet, going all the way back to 2001.  

Learning any skill is an investment and most jobseekers would want to know that their skills will not become redundant - where do we see the future of digital jobs going in Brighton? One way would be to track the average growth in numbers of jobs as below:

Growth of Job Title Keywords.gif


The good news is that the trend for the majority of jobs and fields is modest growth,  although manager and engineer roles have severely underperformed in recent years. In contrast, SEO and social media roles show persistent contraction, perhaps due to industry shocks like google's SEO AI RankBrain, which is now one of google's top 3 ranking signals in google's search algorithm

The future of digital in Sussex looks bright, thanks to its location and thriving start-up culture.  On average, 218 digital start-ups are born here every year and 18% of those go on to achieve growth comparable to the top 10% of companies nationally. 

The effects of Brexit aside, the job market for the foreseeable future appears to be in the favour of jobseekers with the right talent. With nominal salary growth on the rise and house price growth reasonable compared to London, Brighton will hopefully continue to be a hotbed of creative and digital activity. 

We will be continuing to track Brighton's job data and enrich it for a more effective analytics campaign for Talent2018.  Soon we'll also be writing about Brighton's skills market and what it means for employers and salaries in the area.  

If you'd like to find out what the job market holds in store for your business, or have another case for making data work then we'd love to hear from you. 

If you'd like to discuss how we can make data work for you click here to get in  touch!


Topics: Making Data Work