May 16, 2017
Manchester tops the ranking as the leading UK regional creative talent market, having the key ingredients required by this sector to progress and develop as a future destination for the creative industries (including publishing, film, TV, media, digital, computer programming and information services). This is according to ‘Creative Regions’, a first of its kind report, showcasing the Top 25 Regional Creative locations in the UK [outside of London] published by CBRE. Common characteristics of successful creative locations, suggest the report, 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 report’s also found that 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 five list, and 11 of the top 25 creative talent locations are in the East and South East.
Top 10 (from the Top 25) CBRE UK Regional Creative talent markets
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,” said James McLean, Senior Director of the CBRE Advisory & Transaction Services Occupier team. “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.”