Bristol creative industries poised for growth

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Global real estate advisor CBRE has published ‘Creative Regions’, a first of its kind report, showcasing the Top 25 Regional Creative talent markets in the UK [outside of London]. Key findings from the report reveal:

  • Manchester tops the ranking as the leading UK regional creative talent market
  • Bristol is a leading Creative destination, ranked in 8th position
  • 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

These locations are identified as having the key ingredients required by this sector to progress and develop as future destinations for the creative industries (including publishing, film, TV, media, digital, computer programming and information services).

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, quality of life and proximity to world class universities with strong research and computer science ratings.

The index shows Manchester as the leading UK creative talent market outside of the capital, by some margin, scoring consistently highly cross 15 weighted metrics. From a wider regional perspective, the East and South East dominates with 11 of the Top 25 creative talent locations. Although the East and South East are generally more expensive for house prices, office rents and pay there are higher concentrations of creative industries companies and employment here. Strong transport links and connectivity to London are undoubtedly contributing factors.

Bristol is the major South West Creative talent market and features strongly overall, in 8th position, in the CBRE UK Regional Top 25 ranking. It scores highly for: numbers of creative businesses, creative professionals, millennial population and educational attainment levels.

The city already hosts a wide range of successful creative businesses. It is home to the BBC’s Natural History Unit and is the largest centre for natural history film-making in the world. There are also a large array of tech, branding, film and gaming businesses present in the market. Hi-tech hubs in the area include the Engine Shed, The Guild, the Bristol Robotics Lab, the Bristol and Bath Science Park and the Bristol Games Hub. Businesses at these hubs benefit from access to deep talent pools, proximity to world class universities, high speed internet via fibre optics and opportunity to share knowledge and network with a thriving community of digital businesses.

Andy Sayner, Senior Director at CBRE, said “The tech phenomena looks set to continue in the UK.  Technology and creative industries, in general are not affected by regulatory restrictions or fears over single market access. Contrary to common perception, large numbers of these companies are based outside of the capital and we expect this trend to continue. Evidence shows that regional cities such as Bristol also have a critical mass of talent necessary to compete successfully in this sector. There are also many other tempting reasons to locate in the area including quality of life, access to  large talent pools, cost of living and proximity to London.  Indeed, given the growing cost of higher education, and the cost of living in London, the large regional centres such as Bristol are increasingly proving an attractive proposition for graduates and employers”.

Matt Cross, Head of Inward Investment for Bristol & Bath comments: “We are fortunate that we have such a collaborative creative sector in our region. Companies talk to each other and this allows growth in an independent and unique way. We have a huge talent base,who want to stay in Bristol so the sector is full of innovative and new start-ups as people collaborate and move forward towards solving problems and providing creative industry solutions. The region is blessed with tech incubators and organisations such as Desk Lodge, SETSquared and Engine Shed, who challenge the traditional way of working. It’s about working smarter, and Bristol is ideally equipped for our businesses to do that”

Emma Jackson, Associate Director in CBRE Research, comments “As this sector continues to grow, the choice of office space and where to locate will be ever more critical to its sustainability and future growth. Through an in-depth understanding of the unique characteristics and potential of particular markets, which this new research offers, businesses will be better placed to make effective, cost efficient and informed property decisions that will greatly aid in the quest to attract and also crucially to retain the best talent to create competitive advantage”.