Belfast is a major tech and creative talent city and a leading UK creative talent market, according to a report by CBRE.
“Creative Regions” is a new CBRE report, showcasing the Top 25 Regional Creative locations in the UK [outside of London]. The ranking was calculated through a weighted analysis of fifteen metrics covering employment, demographics, costs and real estate measures across 64 different urban areas in the UK, outside of London.
Belfast came out as number 11 in the ratings. Key statistics included:
- Over 12,000 people employed in Information & Communication in 2015 (up 12.5% over the previous 5 years)
- Over 600 Information & Communication SMEs
- A millennial population of over 82,000 (23% of the total population)
- 25% of employees educated to degree level or above
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
- Fuelled by the addition of thousands of new jobs in the last three years, the Creative sector has steadily increased its share of UK office space take-up outside London from 9% in 2013 to 15% in 2015 and 2016
- Top 25 towns and cities identified in this report are best positioned to benefit from and to nurture future growth in the creative sector
Knowledge based business activities, fuelled by innovation, are at the heart of today’s UK economy and have become referred to as the ‘creative economy’.
For the purposes of this report, CRBE used a definition of the Creative sector that includes publishing, film, TV, media, digital, computer programming and information services. Increasingly the creative sector is also becoming embedded in more traditional sectors, as the technology revolution speeds ahead. This new research compares the relative competitive advantages and appeal of all UK regional office locations from the perspective of ‘Creative’ employers and ‘Creative talent’.
From a multitude of weighted metrics, such as educational attainment levels, creative employment concentrations, university research and computing degree rankings, millennial populations, affordability of housing, labour costs, office space costs and more, CBRE created a Top 25 ranking of regional creative talent markets.
CRBE argues that these locations possess a fusion of the key attributes the sector requires to flourish. These are also the markets with the greatest potential to attract and accommodate future growth. The findings of this report will be of interest to both creative sector businesses (foreign or domestic) considering where to locate or expand in the UK outside London and to investors, who will wish to better understand the cities most suited to this increasingly important and evolving occupier sector.
The report suggests that highly skilled ‘creative’ workers, especially millennials, are increasingly choosing regional cities, many of which are achieving a critical mass of talent necessary to compete successfully in this sector. With a lower cost of living and more affordable housing opportunities, these locations also typically offer lower operating costs than London. Regional cities also offer different distributions of intensive-knowledge sectors. Belfast, for example, is well known for fintech, cybersecurity and life & health sciences. These area specialisms can prove alluring to creative businesses with a corresponding focus.