Edinburgh is winning the war for talent, confirms new report from JLL

One Lochrin Square, Edinburgh.

Edinburgh has been ranked 15th among more than 100 cities globally for its world-leading concentration of talent, according to a new report from JLL.

JLL’s Innovation Geographies report suggests that Edinburgh’s performance in JLL’S Talent Concentration Index is due to six key factors.

  1. Home to CodeBase, the UK’s largest tech incubator and with an ambition to become the “data capital of Europe”, Edinburgh boasts a thriving tech scene.
  2. The Capital has several universities, including the University of Edinburgh which is world-leading in the fields of computer science and informatics – it generates highly skilled graduates ready to work immediately in tech, as well as undertaking innovative research in the burgeoning are of AI, attracting additional talent from abroad.
  3. More than half (51.4%) of the workforce in Edinburgh has a tertiary education (significantly higher than global average of 34.3%).
  4. Edinburgh’s demographics are a strong measure of talent. 20-40 year olds now account for 34.6% of the population, the highest proportion in Europe representing an over-index of 127 vs 27.3% average for European cities.
  5. R&D expenditure accounts for 2.2% of GDP, double R&D’s share in Glasgow, Manchester and London.
  6. Outside London, Edinburgh received more high-tech FDI than any other UK city between 2015-2018.

JLL’s Talent Concentration Index is led by London which is propelled to the top by its world-class universities and a highly educated workforce. After London in prime position, U.S. cities dominate the uppermost rankings, including Washington DC, Boston and San Francisco Bay. Paris comes in second in Europe, followed by several smaller cities that benefit from top-flight universities along with a highly qualified workforce, including Oslo, Zurich, Helsinki and Edinburgh.

According to JLL’s report, cities which combine strong innovation capabilities and talent concentrations have outperformed in economic terms over the last couple of decades. It also reveals a robust link between innovation and talent-rich cities and real estate performance, showing that high performing innovation and talent-concentrated cities have recorded the fastest, most vigorous office rental growth over the past decade and are attracting a higher proportion of real estate capital.

Jon Neale, head of UK research at JLL said: “UK cities outside of London are increasingly talent-rich and this is evident in how much the economies of cities including Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham have improved in recent years. This is not just spin, it is obvious from the employment numbers. But investment in infrastructure and R&D needs to increase to turn them into world class innovation hubs which can compete with continental hubs such as Munich or Amsterdam.”

Ben Reed, Lead Director – Regional Tenant Representation commented: “Edinburgh is well placed to benefit as the war for talent continues to push both corporates and investors to secondary, more affordable talent hotspots. Not only is the Capital continuing to grow quickly, but it also offers access to a young, well-educated workforce. The supply of talent from our world-leading Universities, aligned to the growth of a dynamic tech ecosystem, have created an environment which is attractive to investors, developers and corporates.”