London, Manchester and Birmingham lead UK survey of business friendly cities
24 Sep, 2008, London
London, Manchester and Birmingham have retained their position as the UK’s most business friendly cities in this year’s UK Cities Monitor. The annual survey of companies undertaken by real estate adviser Cushman & Wakefield also reports that Leeds has improved its position to rank as the fourth favoured city whilst Bristol has slipped to number five.
UK Cities Monitor surveys senior company executives on their perception of 21 factors, such as transport links, staff resources, office accommodation and quality of life, in 15 of the country’s largest cities. Unsurprisingly London comes first for many of these but Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh are among a number of cities which rank higher than the capital in others.
Manchester in particular performs well with executives ranking the city as their preferred choice as both a new headquarters location and as a new back office function. It is also ranked first as the city doing the most to improve itself and the city doing the most to promote itself.
Newcastle is considered to be the best UK location for a call centre and is also ranked first as the city offering the lowest cost of staff. Edinburgh moves up one place in the overall ranking to number seven and is considered the best location for quality of life whilst also having the greenest reputation.
UK Cities Monitor also surveyed companies on which factors they regard as important when deciding where to locate their business. ‘Easy access to markets, customers or clients’ is considered the most important factor by 50% of those surveyed followed by ‘value for money of office space’ and the ‘ease of recruiting staff.’
This year companies were asked what impact the opening of Heathrow’s Terminal 5 has had on the reputation of London as a business location. 42% felt it had a negative impact with just 20% saying it had a positive impact. 38% felt it had no impact on the capital’s reputation.
Companies were also asked what impact the London 2012 Olympics would have on their business. 41% felt it would be positive with 55% saying it would have no impact whatsoever. Just 6% felt it would have a negative impact. Companies in the south and professional services companies were the most positive.
Adrian Hill, head of business space, Cushman & Wakefield said: “Many UK cities have seen a renaissance over the last few years with major regeneration projects delivering world class business and leisure environments. This investment, along with commitment from visionary councils, has helped to encourage major corporates to look outside of London when deciding where to locate their business. Although London no longer has a complete monopoly as the best business location, its critical mass means that it is unlikely ever to be usurped as the UK’s number one. There is food for thought for all the cities in this report however. It can take up to ten years to really turn around the perception of a city and whilst many have the facilities and the investment in place there is still a great deal of work to be done in promoting them.”
Elaine Rossall, head of European business space research, Cushman & Wakefield said: “London is now essentially one of a small number of ‘world cities’. Its sheer size and position as a global financial centre mean that it is always going to be the most recognised and successful business location in the UK. What is interesting therefore is to see which cities are jostling for position below it. Most of the cities in our ranking compete with each other to attract businesses from overseas and relocations of existing UK companies. They are increasingly recognising the need to promote their competitive advantages and to understand the complex ingredients of success to ensure that their location remains competitive. Although it’s clear that companies overwhelmingly favour the country’s three largest cities, principally because of their population, access to markets and transport infrastructure, the rise of cities such as Edinburgh, Leeds and Sheffield demonstrates that softer factors such as quality of life are deemed increasingly important.”
UK Cities Monitor 2008: The best city in which to locate a business today
Other findings in the report:
Factors affecting business
Changes business would like
This is the third year of the UK report which surveys 200 companies. Cushman & Wakefield has undertaken the annual European Cities Monitor since 1990 (this year’s edition is due to be published on 6th October and will be launched at EXPO REAL in Munich).
Commentary on the results from:
Adrian Hill, head of business space, Cushman & Wakefield: 020 7152 5074
Elaine Rossall, head of European business space research, Cushman & Wakefield: 020 7152 5319
For further information, please contact:
Chris Bond, UK Media Relations Manager
Cushman & Wakefield
Tel: + 44 (0)20 7152 5006 / +44 (0)7793 808 006
Visit Cushman & Wakefield’s Knowledge Center at www.cushmanwakefield.com to access this and other reports on leading real estate issues, trends and market statistics from around the world.
Notes to Editors:
Cushman & Wakefield is the world’s largest privately held commercial real estate services firm. Founded in 1917, it has 221 offices in 58 countries and more than 15,000 employees. The firm represents a diverse customer base ranging from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. It offers a complete range of services within four primary disciplines: Transaction Services, including tenant and landlord representation in office, industrial and retail real estate; Capital Markets, including property sales, investment management, valuation services, investment banking, debt and equity financing; Client Solutions, including integrated real estate strategies for large corporations and property owners, and Consulting Services, including business and real estate consulting. A recognized leader in global real estate research, the firm publishes a broad array of proprietary reports available on its online Knowledge Centre at www.cushmanwakefield.com.