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Where are the best global hubs for a career in digital?

Matt Foster
Matt Foster
Content Strategist
21st November 2017

Silicon Valley in San Francisco is renowned across the globe as the place to be for a career in digital. It is home to the big tech players including Google and Apple and every year eager and enthusiastic graduates converge at this technical nerve centre with big dreams, yet a recent study shows Silicon Valley as ranking way down at number 15 in a global survey. Why is this and where are the best global hubs for starting a career in digital?

As a digital agency with a strong focus on achieving a work/life balance, we’ve compiled a complete study of the most important measures of not just where the top paid digital careers are, but also what lifestyle you’re likely to have in each city.

Firstly it is important to know what factors were looked at during this study. There were five measures in total:

  • Monthly outgoing
  • Happiness
  • Annual leave
  • Pay
  • Disposable income

The findings identified that cities need to provide an environment with the opportunities and good living conditions necessary for success. The tech geniuses of the future need to be heard amongst the city buzz and they need to be able to have a basic standard of living to stay and grow.

Digital cities – the findings

Sydney, Australia, came out at the top of the study as the best place to start your digital career, with a high standard of supporting infrastructure and a clean and healthy beach environment. Glancing at our infographic, Sydney scores highly on both the happiness index and number of days’ holiday, with the added bonus of a lower cost of living compared to European and American cities.

Number two was Amsterdam in the Netherlands, making this the top country in Europe. Netflix and Uber chose Amsterdam as their European base for the city’s great work-life balance. As with Silicon Valley, it has a great infrastructure for investment and innovation, but it is also somewhere where people want to live. It is a small city and people commute everywhere by bike. This city regularly tops happiness surveys, topping the happiness index on our infographic. Employee happiness is not only important for their health, it has also been proven to increase productivity and ultimately, performance.

London is lower down the overall list than Amsterdam as it has high living costs, but remains the number one start-up hub worldwide, due to its diversity and ability to attract new talent. The diversity encourages innovation and thinking outside the box that cultivate the startups that London has become famous for.

Montreal, Canada is third, while the US doesn’t feature until number six with Austin, Texas. It may be a surprise that the US is sixth, but Austin has certainly been shoulder to shoulder with Silicon Valley for a few years now. In 2015, Forbes named Austin as the ‘poised to be the next Silicon Valley tech hub’ due to the extortionate living costs in California compared to those in Texas. It costs a whopping £2,528 per month for food and rent in San Francisco compared to  £1,284 in Austin, with established tech names such as Dell choosing the Texas location for its affordability.

Managing director of Distinctly, Tom Shurville, says:

‘A career in digital opens up opportunities to work in an exciting industry, where you can build your skill set as you travel the world. We’re seeing a trend for graduates and those just beginning their digital careers wishing to combine travel experience with building a viable career’.


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