A global IT firm hopes to employ around 500 staff in Leeds by mid 2017, as part of a strategy to increase its client base around Yorkshire.
FDM Group, which is one of Britain’s largest listed IT services providers, moved its northern centre from Manchester to Leeds eight weeks ago.
The Leeds office already employs 100 staff, and Rod Flavell, FDM’s chief executive, plans to dramatically increase its size in response to demand.
Mr Flavell told The Yorkshire Post that the company’s northern office had been based in Manchester for 10 years, but he had decided to move to Leeds because most of the company’s northern clients were based in Yorkshire.
“In the end, the logic behind moving to Leeds was compelling,’’ he said. “It just became a no-brainer. In the IT game, Leeds has always had quite a strong footprint. Leeds has always had a strong tech pull.
“Our northern client base is growing at a phenomenal rate.”
Mr Flavell said that FDM was one of the biggest graduate hirers in the UK, and Yorkshire was a vibrant centre of graduate talent.
“It’s a fantastic county,’’ he added. “If you look at the standards of living, versus the South, there are many good reasons for people to stay put.”
Mr Flavell said the company had received around 640 applications to join FDM’s academy in Leeds over the last eight weeks.
FDM, which is headquartered in London, also has offices in New York, Toronto, Frankfurt, Zurich, Luxembourg, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai. It provides bespoke training to graduates and ex-Forces personnel who want to become professional IT and business consultants. Globally, the company has more than 2,000 employees and this year alone will be recruiting 1,000 employees across the group. The company already has a strong client base in West Yorkshire, supplying consultants to BSkyB, Sky Sports, HSBC, Yorkshire Building Society and Asda among others.
Mr Flavell said that, within two years, he hoped to employ 500 people in Leeds. He believed Leeds would make a significant contribution to the UK’s technology sector.
“There are some really strong institutions there,’’ he said. “There’s a lot going on in Leeds. Since we started getting into the local marketplace we have been very well received.”
Mr Flavell added: “In the months ahead, I look forward to working with employers and business leaders, so that we can recruit the brightest and best STEM (science technology engineering and maths) and business graduate talent and provide the region with the IT skills that local companies need.”
The firm has hired around 635 graduates and Ex-Forces personnel in the UK since January 2015. Over the same period, the company received more than 19,500 applications in the UK.
In July, entertainment group Sky revealed that it was creating a new world-class technology facility in Leeds. Sky plans to develop a hub in the city that will prevent the cream of technology staff from moving to the South East to look for work.
Sky’s new facility will create up to 400 skilled jobs. The firm said they will be working at the cutting edge of digital technology, creating and developing Sky’s next generation of websites and apps.
Matt Grest, head of technology at Sky@Leeds Dock, said: “Sky is growing the technology community in Leeds, and that can only be a good thing.”
In July, Nathan Lane, director of Media Yorkshire, said: “The move underlines Leeds’ growing reputation as a global hub for the digital industries.”