Manchester is the leading UK regional Creative location according to new CBRE report: ‘Creative Regions’


Global real estate advisor CBRE has published ‘Creative Regions’, a first of its kind report, showcasing the Top 25 Regional Creative locations in the UK [outside of London]. 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 size
  • Scotland features particularly well with Edinburgh and Glasgow in the top 5
  • 11 of the top 25 creative 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 locations 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 CBRE Top 25 reveals Manchester as the leading UK regional creative talent market by some margin, scoring consistently highly across 15 weighted metrics. Amongst many positive attributes it has: the largest number of creative industries businesses, the largest millennial population, a deep talent pool with a highly skilled graduate workforce and access to universities with strong research and computer science rankings. Staff and office space costs are relatively modest, whilst earnings to average house prices are reasonable, particularly when compared to London or a number of South East locations such as Oxford and Cambridge.

As a creative sector destination Manchester is one of the leading hotspots in Europe and with the relocation of the BBC to Salford’s MediaCityUK, its creative output is on a firm growth trajectory. Creative industries businesses in the city can reap huge networking and knowledge sharing benefits from the numerous creative and digital hubs such as: The Sharp Project, MediaCityUK, Manchester Science Partnerships and Corridor Manchester.

John Ogden, Managing Director, Manchester 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, a large number of these companies are based outside of the capital and this will continue to be the case going forwards. Evidence shows that regional cities such as Manchester also have the critical mass of talent necessary to compete successfully in this sector. Other attributes drawing creative industries businesses to Manchester, include quality of life, moderate cost of office space, salaries and favourable cost of living.  Indeed, given the growing cost of higher education, and the cost of living in London, the large regional centres are increasingly proving an attractive proposition for graduates and employers.

Tim Newns, chief executive, MIDAS, Manchester’s inward investment agency, said: “Talent is critical to the innovation, competitiveness and growth of creative businesses and the sector overall and therefore it is very encouraging for Manchester to be named the UK’s leading city for creative talent.”

“With a number of vibrant, established creative hubs located across the city region including the Northern Quarter, MediaCityUK, The Sharp Project and MSP, to new up and coming areas such as NOMA, St John’s and Airport City, our exceptional workforce isn’t limited to a single concentrated area. One of our unique selling points is not only the way our businesses collaborate, but their ability to collaborate across sectors and universities, to drive the next wave of innovation across industry. This is exemplified by the University of Salford’s dedicated campus at MediaCityUK and MSP being situated at the heart of The University of Manchester and Manchester Metropolitan University’s campus. With continuous investment into Manchester’s cultural offer, and the creativity that comes from the talent within, Manchester is cementing its reputation as a global creative destination.”

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”.