Research by CBRE has ranked Manchester as the number one location outside of London for tech firms, eclipsing the ratings of several other major cities in the north of England.
Manchester was praised for its diverse population, plentiful supply of office space (around 3.5 million square feet in total) and its talented female candidate pool, along with the consistent availability of graduates from universities in Manchester, Salford and Bolton.
The remainder of the top five included Birmingham in 2nd place, Reading in 4th, and the Scottish cities of Glasgow and Edinburgh in 3rd and 5th respectively.
Meanwhile, Leeds took 8th place, with Sheffield in 10th and Liverpool languishing outside the top ten in 12th.
The report said: “Manchester has once again shown its strength as a leading tech location, maintaining the number one spot as the leading tech city in the UK outside of London.
“An ability to tap into a highly skilled graduate population has been a key driver for many multinational software and data companies in their decision to locate in Manchester.”
Following a period of strong growth in 2015-19, the report added that ICT jobs in most cities will see minimal growth in the coming years – but not in Manchester.
Because of the city’s existing tech presence, it is expected to see a further 6.4% growth in ICT jobs by 2025, second only to Birmingham’s forecasted 7.65%.
The importance of offices
It’s not just the total office space that matters – the widespread availability of serviced offices in Manchester has specific appeal for companies looking to establish HQ or a regional hub in the north-west.
CBRE said: “Accelerated by the pandemic, many large tech companies are exploring the option of a ‘hub and hub’ strategy for UK operations … as opposed to a ‘hub and spoke’ model in which smaller satellite locations feed into one centralised hub, typically in London.”
The report cited CBRE’s EMEA Occupier Survey, which found that 54% of respondents believed flexible office space solutions (e.g. serviced offices, tech incubators and hotdesking) will be the most in-demand office building amenity for the future.
Flexible office space in Manchester
Again, the city scores highly when it comes to the availability of flexible office space, with a large and thriving market for incubators and accelerators, hotdesking and serviced offices in Manchester.
CBRE scored the city ‘High’ for demand on its Flex Scoring Matrix, again comparing with ‘Medium’ demand in Leeds, ‘Medium/Low’ demand in Liverpool and ‘Low’ demand in Sheffield.
While demand is high for flexible and serviced offices in Manchester, the market is mature and availability is good, compared with other northern cities that are still racing to catch up.
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With serviced offices in Telford and London also available, we can help you establish regional hubs in the north-west, West Midlands and in the capital, with flexible office space to accommodate your current and future needs as you grow.