For Talent Month at TechSPARK, our Editorial sponsor, ADLIB, has shared their deep dive into what talent and skills the South West needs to hone in on to develop our tech and engineering sector. ADLIB’s Roy Bennett, Head of Science & Engineering, and Mike Harley, Head of Tech are here to break down their expertise in the sector.


Bristol and Bath has strong Engineering links within design and manufacturing, with significant aerospace presence from global organisations including Airbus, Rolls Royce, GKN Aerospace and Boeing.

In addition, an array of exciting and disruptive technology startups are based in Bristol and Bath including Robotics, Electronics and Quantum computing. This has been further enhanced with the second Science Creates incubator in the heart of Bristol opening, supporting engineering start-ups and spinouts.

With a cluster of four Universities with strong engineering courses, the area is abundant with graduates with skills including electronics engineering, mechanical engineering and design, aerospace engineering and physics. In addition, there are over 90,000 experienced Engineers in the area. Bristol and Bath are a superb area to grow your business with plenty of talent available.

" The Bristol region hosts more than 10,000 technology companies and an internationally renowned and mature tech ecosystem. "

— Mike Harley, Head of Tech

Sustainability, Mechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Instrumentation, Electronics and Hardware Design, Research and Development and Quality Engineering have all been in demand over the past 12 months.

Technology Talent and Skills

The Bristol region hosts more than 10,000 technology companies and an internationally renowned and mature tech ecosystem. Tech growth is being driven by emerging clusters in AI, Robotics, FinTech, VR, HealthTech, GreenTech and Creative tech projects, which are springing out of the city’s many incubators and university research projects.

Scaleups have access to a wide variety of growth capital sources in the South West including angel groups and venture capital trusts. The region’s startup and creative scene is well documented as one of the most progressive, innovative and exciting in the world.

Bristol’s talent market is still incredibly vast and flourishing with disruptive startups and scaleups constantly emerging; there’s a lot of local entrepreneurial talent driving their progression and offering innovative solutions to the wider challenges we face around climate change, renewable resources, mental/physical well-being and much more.

Since the start of the pandemic there’s been an influx of Tech4Good / GreenTech businesses growing at pace due to the rising demand from local talent in wanting to have a wider purpose to the work they’re producing and where their skills can be utilised. The rise of remote working means the South West tech market can tap into other regions/countries that have been historically out of reach!

The flipside to this benefit is the South West market is now having to compete with increased competition from other tech hot spots like London, Cambridge, Oxford, Birmingham and Manchester which could have an impact on the ability to secure local talent when they’re being shown so many options. The smartest route forward for local businesses is to invest in graduate/junior talent, upskill from within and support the future progression of junior talent to leave future businesses with enough to choose from!

It’s a truly unique time in our existence, driving high interest across AR / VR / XR, Automation, Haptic/Touchless Tech and AI/ML in the local region. There continues to be a huge demand for expertise within Cloud/DevOps, Web/Software/Mobile Development (JavaScript, PHP, Ruby, Python, iOS/Android, Functional Programming, Java, C#.Net, AR/VR, Embedded), QA/Test Automation, Architecture and Cyber Security.

There’s also an increasing demand for well-rounded technical capability with strong client-facing, stakeholder management and leadership/mentoring skills than ever before due to the rise in more consultative and service-driven business propositions.