Edinburgh vs Cambridge : A Company Connecting Infographic

Company Connecting’s bird’s eye view of IT allows us to see the industry in a unique way and therefore share some interesting observations about it. In our latest infographic, we’ve decided to compare the cities of Edinburgh and Cambridge, on both of which we hold extensive data. They are both very old cities that have adapted and grown into real technological hubs within the UK.

Edinburgh is a much larger city with almost four times Cambridge’s population – it is home to 464,990 people compared to Cambridge’s 123,900. Clearly there’s a very noticeable size difference population-wise, but is that reflected in the size of their IT industries?

On balance, the answer to that is no. Edinburgh has 538 IT / tech companies while Cambridge has 379 – a fairly large difference at first thought, but not when you consider the population gap. Edinburgh only has an IT company for every 864 people in the city, whereas for Cambridge there’s an IT company for every 327 people. This implies that while Edinburgh has a very large IT industry (the largest in Scotland), Cambridge’s population is more tech-focused overall.

That’s the big picture in the comparison between the two, but there’s a much more detailed break-down of the data that needs to be looked at before you can fully understand the technological differences between Edinburgh and Cambridge. Our interactive infographic at the bottom of this article is very easy to use, and shows differences between the cities in terms of skills, function areas, sectors and company sizes.

In the IT industries of both cities Software Development is the most commonly-found skill which is the case in most places. However, one extremely interesting fact to note is that in spite of Edinburgh’s vast predominance in population size and the number of IT / tech companies it holds, Cambridge has significantly more Software Development skills than Cambridge – 228 companies with this skill compared to Edinburgh’s 144.

The other skills making up their respective Top 10s reflect the key differences. Cambridge has a large number of companies capable of producing bespoke software, and also hosts many consulting services, training skills, app development skills and cloud solutions. Edinburgh is more web-based, with a large representation of different web design skills, content managed websites and eCommerce solutions.

There’s also a clear difference in the kinds of sectors IT and tech companies work within in each city. In Edinburgh they seem to be very Information Technology based, as well as a significant representation in Financial Services, which is a large, key industry in Edinburgh. In Cambridge, Healthcare is the largest sector, followed by Education. It would be fair from that data to draw the conclusion that Edinburgh is more of a powerhouse in FinTech, while Cambridge has a strong standing in Digital Health and EdTech.

The comparison of Edinburgh vs Cambridge proves to be a fascinating one, showing how in many ways Cambridge punches above its weight for a city of its size. It is also interesting to compare the city with the biggest IT industry in Scotland to a smaller English city whose IT industry is no doubt boosted by its proximity to London.

The skills and sectors in these two cities are just two of the issues we’ve looked at in our infographic. To draw conclusions about focus areas and company size, take a look at the infographic below.

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First published on Company Connecting July 2017

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