Reading has topped the latest KPMG Tech Monitor, confirming its position as the UK’s number one regional technology centre.
Reading tops the table for the largest footprint of tech enterprises in the local private sector business population, with the M4 corridor, including Reading, retaining its place as the “lifeblood of tech sector enterprise concentration, especially for larger firms”.
Almost one in five enterprises in Reading are classed as tech companies and the proportion of tech businesses in Reading is rated three times the national average. Locally, Slough, Bracknell Forest and Wokingham also all appear in the top 15 ranked local authorities and boast more than twice the national proportion of tech companies.
KPMG have used Standard Industrial Classifications (SICs) to categorise the technology sector and have included within their definition:- software publishing; computer programming, consultancy and related activities; data processing, hosting and related activities; web portals; manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products; manufacture of electrical equipment.
Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK CIC, said: “The Tech sector, along with finance and business services, has been a pillar of Reading’s economic strength for a number of years. The KPMG reports bears out the importance of co-location in Reading for businesses in a similar sector, as well as the ease of access to markets and Reading’s skilled workforce for these innovative businesses.
“The combination of good sustainable business growth in modern companies, a skilled workforce and excellent transport links into and around Reading can only mean good news in terms of job prospects for those living locally or those able to commute into Reading, whilethe current and future investment in our business parks, town centre office space and transport infrastructure should only cement Reading’s place as home to the UK’s tech sector.”
The report makes significant reference to the connectivity advantages behind Reading’s success with the proximity to Heathrow, railway links to London and major motorway routes all key factors. The report also looks to the future in which Reading is set to further benefit from faster connections from rail electrification, new office developments underway in the redeveloped station area and the revived proposal for a railway station to serve Green Park.
The report specifically cites a “thriving and expanding” Green Park as a core factor pushing Reading to the top of the tech cluster ranking. “The business park continues to sustain and boost the local STEM skills base” with major U.S. multinationals such as Cisco Systems, Nvidia, Symantec and Texas Instruments among the companies located there. Thames Valley Business Park and Suttons Business located on the Wokingham district / Reading local authority boundary are also influential in the overall report rankings.
The KPMG Tech Monitor Report methodology uses Office for National Statistics data on business enterprises by local authority and standard industrial code in the UK to provide a location quotient figure. Reading scores 2.99. The ratios are derived by comparing the concentration of business enterprises in local authorities with the national share of enterprises in the same industry. Any location quotient above 1 signals a greater than average concentration of tech companies in a local area.
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