Bournemouth: Choosing tourism over talent?

Bournemouth is failing to retain young people in its thriving digital industries, according to a new report.

In a recent report by Tech City UK, an organisation promoting growth in the digital sector, start-ups in Bournemouth list lack of skilled workers as a key issue, despite the town being considered a ‘growing digital economy‘.

According to the report, nearly 50% of local digital companies cite lack of skilled workers as a challenge, with almost 25% expressing retention of skilled workers as a concern.

“Bournemouth is lacking culture”

Leanne Kent, 23, marketing and communications executive at Salad Creative, stayed in the area after studying at Bournemouth University. “Bournemouth is lacking culture to keep young talent in the area,” she said, “Young people live, grow up, study here and want to leave. Students at the university often do the same.”

This was the case for 38-year-old Claire Dikecoglu. Now a senior account director at 33Seconds in London, she has no interest in returning to Bournemouth.

“The limited cultural and social options had started to become noticeable,” she said, “London offers much more opportunity to experience creativity as part of everyday life.

“​[In Bournemouth] I had been doing the same job for six years and couldn’t see anything new or interesting in the local area.”

A more relaxed pace of living

Amie Stebbing, head of culture at 3 Sided Cube, disagrees: “I speak to people who are desperate to move back to Bournemouth following a move to the city because they’ve ‘lived the dream’ for a year but miss the sea air and more relaxed pace of living.”

The report’s findings support this, 95 percent of start-ups praised overall quality of life in the area.

​The leader of Bournemouth Council, Councillor John Beesley said: “Bournemouth is unique in that it is a place where we have an endless list of award-winning agencies all working together.

“This cross-industry collaboration and our approach to nurturing new talent makes Bournemouth, and the surrounding area the best place for digital and creative organisations to thrive.”

It may take more than Beesley’s words to convince Dikecolgu: ​ “In London if you are a digital professional with good experience there are lots of options because it’s a thriving industry.

“As I am now quite senior, jobs outside the London area are incredibly rare.”

Graph: TechNation startup challenges

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