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December 2016

UK Regions Ready to Fuel the Tech Phenomena as CBRE Ranking Reveals Winning Creative Credentials

Categories: Immersive Tech (AR/VR)

Global real estate advisor CBRE has published today, ‘Creative Regions’, a first of its kind report, showcasing the Top 25 Regional Creative locations in the UK [outside of London]. Key findings from the report reveal:

  • Manchester tops the ranking as the leading UK regional creative talent market
  • Reading punches well above its weight as a creative talent destination, given the size of its office market.
  • Scotland features particularly well with Edinburgh and Glasgow in the top 5
  • 11 of the top 25 creative talent locations are in the East and South East

These locations are identified as having the key ingredients required by this sector to progress and develop as future destinations for the creative industries (including publishing, film, TV, media, digital, computer programming and information services).

Common characteristics of successful creative locations include large concentrations of creative businesses and professionals, deep talent pools of highly educated graduate populations, large and growing millennial populations, good transport connections, quality of life and proximity to world class universities with strong research and computer science ratings.

The CBRE Top 25 reveals Manchester as the leading UK regional creative talent market by some margin, scoring consistently highly across 15 weighted metrics. Amongst many positive attributes it has: the largest number of creative industries businesses, the largest millennial population, a deep talent pool of creative professionals with a highly skilled graduate workforce and access to universities with strong research and computer science rankings. Employment and office costs are relatively modest, whilst earnings to average house prices are reasonable, particularly when compared to London or a number of South East locations such as Oxford and Cambridge.

It is not only the largest office markets that make it into the CBRE top 25. Traditional but smaller locations in the Thames Valley such as Reading, Oxford, Newbury, Bracknell and Slough also rank highly. Despite Manchester having more than four times the amount of office floorspace, compared to second placed Reading, the Berkshire town punches well above its weight as a Creative talent destination, with very high numbers and concentration of creative industries businesses and talent.

From a regional perspective it is significant that 11 of the top 25 creative talent locations are in the East and South East. For creative talent, the cost of living is generally higher in these locations, but is offset by higher average salaries; for employers office rents are greater, but they benefit from being able to source staff from some of the greatest concentrations of tech talent in the UK. Strong transport links and connectivity to London are undoubtedly contributing factors.

The tech phenomena looks set to continue in the UK.  Technology and creative industries, in general are not affected by regulatory restrictions or fears over single market access. Contrary to common perception, a large number of these companies are based outside of the capital. Evidence shows that a number of regional centres also contain a critical mass of talent necessary to compete successfully in this sector. There are many other tempting reasons to draw creative industries businesses to the UK regions such as attractive quality of life and favourable cost of living.  Indeed, given the growing cost of higher education, and the cost of living in the capital, the large regional centres are increasingly proving a compelling proposition for graduates and employers alike.

James McLean, Senior Director of the CBRE Advisory & Transaction Services Occupier team

As this sector continues to expand, the choice of office space and where to locate will be ever more critical to its sustainability and future growth. Through an in-depth understanding of the unique characteristics and potential of particular markets, which this new research offers, businesses will be better placed to make effective, cost efficient and informed property decisions that will greatly aid in the quest to attract and also crucially to retain the best talent to create competitive advantage. 

Emma Jackson, Associate Director in CBRE Research

Source CBRE

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