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The Creative Sector makes a splash in the UK Regions

by | May 15, 2017

The UK is globally renowned for its creative sector and enviable selection of world-class outputs which have expanded at pace in recent years.   Can this advantage be sustained? And which locations are best equipped to nurture success and future growth?  Our new report, ‘Creative Regions’ provides the answers.

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Powering the UK’s Creative sector success is a spectrum of specialisms, including publishing, film, music, fashion, gaming, automation, virtual reality, advertising, technology solutions, fin-tech, med-tech amongst others. The cross-disciplinary nature of these industries provides a rich environment for cross fertilisation of ideas, collaboration and innovation.

Will this growth be sustained? It definitely should be. Just look around. We are collectively obsessed with gadgetry, social media apps, gaming, internet shopping, online banking etc. The pace of change is rapid, with the growth of big data, smart cities, smart buildings and improved digital connectivity.  Increasing demand for creative products and services from developing nations also represents a considerable opportunity (as well as a risk).

As the sector grows, the choice of office space and where to locate will be critical to future prospects. So which locations are best placed to accommodate an expanding and new wave of specialist and mostly small scale creative industries businesses? Contrary to common perception, it is not all about London.  Tech Nation estimate two thirds of small technology businesses are based outside of the capital. Locations such as Manchester, Reading, Edinburgh, Cambridge, Glasgow, Oxford and Bristol are all notable creative centres of excellence.

Advancing from the usual focus on the Creative Sector in London, CBRE’s new research report, ‘Creative Regions’, showcases the Top 25 Regional Creative talent markets in the UK. These locations all possess the key ingredients (albeit in varying proportions) this sector needs to progress and develop. They are all locations to watch as future destinations for creative industries businesses.

As might be expected, on the basis that talent attracts talent, common characteristics of successful creative talent markets include large concentrations of creative businesses and professionals, deep talent pools of highly educated graduate populations, large and growing millennial populations, good transport connections, a high quality of life and proximity to world class universities with strong research and computer science ratings.

Our research reveals Manchester as easily the leading UK regional creative talent market outside London, scoring consistently highly across the 15 weighted metrics. Scotland is also well represented with Edinburgh and Glasgow featuring very highly, in third and fifth positions. Regionally, the South East and East dominate with a representation of 11 out of the Top 25 locations. Although these locations are more expensive for house prices, office rents and salaries, there are higher concentrations of creative industries companies and employment. Strong transport links and connectivity to London are undoubtedly contributing factors.

Through an in-depth understanding of the unique characteristics of particular markets, provided by this research, businesses will be better placed to make effective, cost efficient and informed property decisions that will help them to attract and also retain the best talent to create competitive advantage.

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