Knowledge-intensive business services make up 40% of all central Reading businesses. Reading is ranked 1st in the UK as a tech employment cluster according to KPMG's report and the Greater Reading area is home to over 20% of the south's most successful private, independent tech companies.
Thames Valley Berkshire LEP have produced a new sector proposition for digital technologies in Reading and the Thames Valley (Sep 2015). Download the Digital Technologies report.
Businesses based in Reading in this sector include:-
Nesta's The Geography of Creativity (2016) highlighted the major growth in employment in this sector in Reading while The Globe brought Interface, their procurement road show to Reading to engage national cultural organisations with the Reading creative sector.
Reading has grown into a regional and national hub for financial and business services. Prudential have a long association with Reading and this sector has become one of Reading’s key strengths in recent years.
The Thames Valley and Reading in particular is becoming known for innovation in green energy. With the Walker Institute for Climate Systems Research based at the University of Reading and the European Centre for Media Range Weather Forecasts also in Reading, there is a strong research base locally. AMEC Foster Wheeler, who have had a long association with Reading, moved their corporate HQ here in 2013. SSE are moving into One Forbury Place, consolidating a number of their UK offices in Reading.
Reading has a growing cluster of biopharma companies based around Green Park business park with good links to other pharma clusters in Oxford and elsewhere in the Thames Valley. Bayer have recently chosen Reading for their UK HQ.
With world-renowned research in cybernetics at the University of Reading and the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) just outside Reading, a strong cluster of defence related businesses has grown up in and around Reading. Blue-chip aerospace and defence organisation Rockwell Collins are based at Winnersh Triangle.
With an annual turnover of £780 million, Reading is the regional retail centre for the Thames Valley. Two town centre shopping malls, Broad Street Mall and The Oracle anchor the retail offer. The Oracle attracts 15 million visitors a year to its offer of top fashion and brands. The Reading Business Improvement District represents the town centre's retail area and has created a thriving high street of independents and chains. The commercial vacancy rate in Reading stands at 11.24%, 28% below the national average (Hicks Baker/Local Data Company)
Strong rail, road and air transport links is underpinning Reading's development as a logistics and distribution hub. Tesco opened a major distribution centre in 2013 alongside the M4 junction 11 to add to the existing Brakes Bros facility on Suttons Business Park. Segro have built a new distribution centre for Geopost on Imperial Way.
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