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Relative IT Salaries in the South of the UK

OK, this is way out of line of the usual topics here.  But for the UK based "Joel on Software"ites, here is a question.

I am a very experienced IT professional.  Apps development, network management, systems admin, IT management.  I am currently a senior applications development manager working for a State Government agency in the US.  Web design, .Net development, data modelling, and so in.  Annual salary is around the $60k US mark.

Now, let us say I moved to the south of England - Portsmouth / Southhampton to be precise.  What could Iexpect to earn assuming I could get a similar job?  Either public sector, or large private company.

Now, I am not actively looking for work, and I realised there are all sort of immigration / work permit stuff.  I just want to explore some options.

Ken Ray
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Why would you want to move to Portsmouth, or indeed Southhampton?

Problem is, although cost of living is cheaper, you might not make as much money in the South of England.

Someone I know just started programming job with Rolls Royce at about £25k

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

What's wrong with Portsmouth or Southampton [sic]?

£30K - £40K for the public sector.

John Topley (
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Have a look on <a href="">Jobserve</a> or  <a href="">the ITBoard</a>

I hope the immigration people give you a hard time getting in. The US immigration lot are bastards and so it's only fair!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Bear in mind you'll need at least two other jobs to be able to afford a house down there.

My house in the midlands -- bought two years ago, is nearly at the point where BOTH our software engineer's salaries couldn't raise a mortgage large enough to buy it.

I was offered a job in Surrey, and we worked out that if we sold  both our houses in the midlands and combined incomes we could afford a 2-bedroom flat within commuting distance of the job.

Frankly I don't know how anyone affords to live in the south.

Katie Lucas
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

How much do you need to make per anum to be able to live in London? I was thinking about moving there myself, but the cost of living scares the hell out of me.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Hants IT-ers all have beach properties in Lee-on-Solent and do all their work via laptops from their sailboats.  Who cares what they make ?

Joe Hendricks
Tuesday, April 20, 2004


My mate hates it down in Portsmouth. He is doing control systems design for Rolls, and all he gets is £25k a yr. Granted, the cost of living is a bit cheaper down there but it is still only £25k.

Another friend of mine works somewhere up north. Near Bradford/Sheffield, and he too complains about low wages in IT.

I think a good bet must be the Cambridge (UK) area. Lots of big companies are throwing money into the area.

If you work in London, you will probably end up working for a bank or a financial services support industry.  Salaries are good here if you know your stuff, expecially in quantitative finance/derivatives. It drops off a bit when you get into reporting and other less exotic fields.

Working as a contractor is also another way to boost your salary to CanAffordToLiveInLondon levels.

<cost of living indicator> Typical two bedroomed flat in half decent area will set  you back about £350 per week.

One family member lives in Birmingham and he pays about half of this for a three bedroomed house!

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

Cambridge is HUGELY expensive to live in.

1. High tech area: well paid until recently.

2. Commutable to London.

Food's not that bad, but houses are astronomical.

Katie Lucas
Tuesday, April 20, 2004

True, Cambridge is expensive, but it does offer a viable alternative to the Madding Crowds in London without being too far from the pulse.

It is easier (at least circa 2001) to commute to Tech industries from places around Cambridge (the Fens, Huntingdon, etc) than it does for the typical Londoner to tube it to work.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004

The way people afford to live in the South of England is usually not to buy property, but to rent. Cambridge is just about affordable if you rent somewhere; if you want to buy, nine times out of 10 you'll be stuck in a tiny village in the middle of the Fens.

It's pretty ridiculous how few software jobs there are in the North of the country, given the large pool of talent produced by the numerous universities.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004

> Why would you want to move to Portsmouth, or indeed Southhampton?

It must be the number of prostitutes or something. Maybe he has a thing about sailors?

Anyway, both those places are the pits AFAIAC. You should try somewhere like Leeds, York, Bath, Oxford...

Thursday, April 22, 2004

Salaries down South, specially in Greater London are usually higher. £30000-40000 p/a is ok for a developer. Investment banks pay up to £90000, but I've never seen anyone working for them.

Mind you, £30000-40000 is before tax which might be up to 40% (income tax after £29900) and 11%-12% social tax. Add VAT on top of most goods (generally 17.5% in UK), awfully expensive fuel etc. and you'll really question yourself if it really worth working in UK.

And, yes, May the First 2004 ten new countries join EU, and my guess is, as most software developers speak English, UK IT is awaiting a huge wave of migration.

On a bright side of life UK goverment has introduced recentely HSMP visas (Highly Skilled Migrants Programme), which, if I understand correctly, can be sponsored solely by yourself.

In addition, forget about buying house unless your uncle's name is Roman and you'll arrive with two large suitcases full of crunchy cash.

Vlad Gudim
Thursday, April 22, 2004

See this site:

Thursday, April 22, 2004

> Anyway, both those places are the pits AFAIAC

Cruel world ! Have you never tasted the culinary delights at the famous BlueBird Cafe on Lee-on-Solent's beachfront ?? Ridden the magnificent pedestrian ferry between Portsmouth and Gosport ?  Sampled the Crispy Duck in Fareham ?


Joe Hendricks
Thursday, April 22, 2004

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