What do the millennial generation think of Reading?

Reading UK, the economic development company for Reading worked with the Goldstone Agency to commission new market research on perceptions of Reading among the millennial generation (summer 2017). Key findings included:-

  • 75% would relocate to Reading given the right job offer
  • 33% see Reading as ‘up and coming’
  • 40% cite the location of the University of Reading in the town as a positive relocation factor
  • The Thames in Reading, excellent transport links, vibrant city life, access to green space all resonated with the millennial generation as positives Reading had to offer them

IMG 20141124 00072 2The millennial generation (born 1980 – 1995) currently make up 25% of the UK population and it is predicted that by 2025 they will make up 75% of the global workforce. As the first generation to enter the workplace with a better grasp of key digital business tools than more senior colleagues, they are the generation that will be shaping the future business landscape. They will have a profound impact on the success of Reading’s growing creative and knowledge based economy over the coming decades.

Reading UK surveyed over 300 22-35 year olds in London and across the south east working mostly in the tech and creative sectors. We asked them about:-

  • their perceptions of Reading today
  • whether they would consider working/living in Reading
  • what factors in work/life relocation decisions were most important to them

What was important to them about where they worked:

City living options – 43%

Reading is developing an attractive city centre living option, with fast growing city centre living options close to work and linked to rail connectivity to the rest of the UK and Heathrow

Cultural life – 40%

Reading has just celebrated its first Year of Culture, will be reopening Reading Abbey in 2018 and through links with Oscar Wilde and Jane Austen, is becoming known as a cultural destination

Sweepof the Thames IndentWebAccess to green space – 34%

Reading sits on the Thames, is blessed with great parks and is within easy reach of the Chilterns and Thames Valley countryside

Good transport links – 34%

Reading has one of the best connected rail stations in the UK, will be on Crossrail in 2019 and is also located close to the M4

Heritage of a place – 33%

Reading Abbey is in the heart of the town and is the burial place of King Henry I. Reading also has a rich industrial heritage and its Listed former prison building was immortalised in Oscar Wilde’s Ballad of Reading Gaol

Shopping – 30%

Reading is a UK top 20 shopping destination with the Oracle and Broad Street Mall shopping centres at its heart alongside a strong mix of chain and independents across the town centre

What did they think of Reading?

We found that the millennial generation held very few pre-conceptions about Reading. Overwhelmingly, they identified Reading with its famous music festival (63%) but they also linked it to:-

  • its location on the Thames (30%)
  • being a University town (28%
  • its excellent rail links (28%)
  • the burial place of King Henry I (18%)

Would they relocate to Reading?

 A massive 75% of those surveyed said they would consider working in Reading give the right job offer.

There were gaps in their knowledge of Reading which could help further increase the positive impression of Reading, including:-

  • the town’s high wage economy and high growth in creative sector jobs
  • the planned Crossrail terminus in Reading
  • its vibrant arts and cultural scene


The main conclusion from the research is that Reading should continue to develop ‘Brand Reading’ with confidence and embrace the fact that that its own personality and distinctiveness are attractive to the millennial generation. We will continue to nurture and encourage the right conditions to attract millennials as residents, employees and business owners to Reading.


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