Reading named UK top 5 city for business

Reading has been ranked as the fifth best city for business by Management Today (24 June 2019).

Manchester won the coveted top spot in the inaugural “21 Best Towns and Cities in Britain for Business”, which rates major urban centres, excluding London, on their appeal as places to run and grow talent-hungry, knowledge-based companies.

Clearwater Court ReadingReading ranked ahead of major cities such as Birmingham, Cambridge, Brighton, Glasgow, Nottingham and Oxford.

Adam Gale, Editor, Management Today, said: “Although it clearly benefits from its proximity to London, Reading has come into its own as a top business destination in its own right. The number and calibre of businesses that have already invested in the area is proof of that.”

The UK’s 63 biggest towns and cities were assessed on metrics including productivity, the depth of the talent pool, the strength of innovation, the scale of the private sector ecosystem and the rate of growth. These results were collated and carefully weighted to produce a shortlist of 21, which was then ranked by a panel of expert judges with reference to the data and submissions from the cities themselves.

Nigel Horton-Baker, Executive Director, Reading UK said: “A defacto city, Reading always ranks among the top UK, as well as European, business locations, particularly given Reading’s position as the UK’s number tech location .  Business is attracted to Reading by excellent transport links, high skill levels, our ambitious 2050 Vision, strong business clusters, vibrant town centre and a high quality of life. Already this year, we are listed among the best performing UK locations for attracting foreign investment and today (24 June) we are celebrating the contribution of our creative community in making Reading a great place to live, work and do business¹.”

More information at  Management Today 

Reading’s business USP

Connectivity: just 25 minutes from London on the western mainline and the future western terminus of Crossrail, direct transport links into Heathrow and sited on the M4, Reading is one of the best connected business locations in the UK. 

Skills:  50% of the working population are educated to degree level or equivalent. Reading has a talent pool attracted by the highest wages outside London and 25% of Reading University graduates stay to join the local workforce.

Business sectors:  a diverse business base with long standing clusters in IT and other knowledge-based sectors, from Microsoft to Oracle; a growing pharmaceutical sector with Bayer and Sanofi new arrivals, joining strong professional and financial services sectors, energy and environmental sector, defence, retail and FMCG.

Attracting investment: Reading is attracting significant international investment and is ranked in the top 25 European cities for Foreign Direct Investment. Reading UK’s new Relocation Guide supports recruitment and retention of staff among existing businesses and helps businesses in relocating their business and people to Reading, from Nokia to KPMG.

Investing in the city: at the heart of creating a strong offer to businesses has been an investment of £7 million over the last decade through Reading Central Business Improvement District (BID). So successful has the model been that Reading businesses have recently voted to create a second contiguous BID in the Abbey Quarter Commercial District (2019-24).

An ambitious vision: underpinning Reading’s business prospects for the future is the Reading 2050 Vision. Launched in 2017, the private sector led Vision, supported by the local authority, sets out the path to a smart and sustainable future. Reading’s 2050 The Vision consultation engaged with 21,000 people, 350 businesses as well as the local authority, to support the Local Plan in its ambitions for ‘living within environmental limits and ensuring a strong healthy and just society.’

Supporting recruitment: Reading’s Relocation Guide sets out compelling reasons to relocate to Reading, with high wages, strong career paths, vibrant business clusters, a world-leading university and a thriving arts and cultural scene at its heart. The Sunday Times has just ranked Reading as the top place for first time buyers to invest, with house prices comparing favourable with nearby London. 

University partnering business: the University of Reading is actively engaged in the business community, from launching its own business park for knowledge-based businesses (Thames Valley Sciene Park) to delivering over 250 knowledge transfer partnerships and hosting the British Museum’s archaeological collections.

Supporting business: Reading UK is the economic development company for Reading tasked with driving growth. With a Board made up of both private sector and the local authority, it is leading an ambitious new strategy to drive economic growth and further raise the profile of Reading globally as a place to invest, do business, work and live.  Reading UK manages the BIDs, 2050 Vision project, supporting the skills agenda and encouraging the development of the arts and cultural scene locally.  Reading UK’s work has earned it 3rd place ranking in the FT European FDI's return on investment league table for efficiency of using resources to attract investment.



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