November 25, 2014
A new report has revealed just how important the growing business centres market is to the UK economy. According to the report from the Business Centre Association and Investment Property Databank the market is now comparable to the City of London both in terms of the number of people employed and the amount of office space it occupies. The report also outlines both the market’s robust health during the recent economic downturn and ongoing growth in response to increasing customer demand and the changing market for office space. The sector now boasts that it provides a home to some 80,000 businesses employing more than 400,000 people who occupy around 70 million sq. ft. of space including landmark developments such as the Regus No 1 Poultry centre in the City of London (above) and generate around £2 billion of income for the economy. The report, produced in conjunction with Snapdragon Consulting, found that the serviced office sector in the UK now represents around one third of the global market.
According to the study, 43 percent of the centres it surveyed were opened between 2005 and 2009 and a further 21 per cent opened between 2010 and 2013 suggesting the market was hardly held back by the recession and may even have been driven by the downturn.
The report claims that the main drivers of this success are the uptake of flexible working and the growing number of small and micro-businesses in the digital sectors and the creative economy. The survey found that over three-quarters (77 percent) of UK employees already work for organisations that offer some form of flexible working. The report’s authors also claim that there has been a structural shift in the economy away from big to smaller businesses and that – unsurprisingly – London and the South East of England dominate the market. Over two-thirds of firms occupying business centres are based in London and the South East.