London’s status as the tech capital of the UK is being challenged. Financially savvy tech firms are moving north, chasing the skilled workforce, balanced ethos and affordable offices. Modern buildings, high standards and the latest technology distinguish the office space in Manchester, and more and more companies are starting to make to make the most of the city’s developments.
Coworking specialist WeWork is capitalising on Manchester’s lure. The shared office space firm has opened their first base outside of London, taking up residence in No. 1 Spinningfields (a glass skyscraper in the city’s centre).
Joe Gaunt, the UK managing Director for WeWork has said: “We are proud to have secured premises in the latest addition to the Manchester skyline and believe this best in class building will provide the perfect hub for entrepreneurs, start-ups, freelancers and established companies alike to create their life’s work.”
Other coworking companies have already opened their own office spaces in Manchester, offering high-end facilities and flexible contracts for startups thinking of moving north. But as Manchester becomes increasingly popular as a technology hot-spot, offices are rapidly becoming occupied and prices quickly becoming premium. As tech companies cotton on to the exciting prospects Manchester has to offer, firms are keen to settle into a well-equipped space before the city becomes saturated.
Here’s how to monopolise on Manchester’s tech boom:
- Get some office space
Finding a base in Manchester’s city centre is getting increasingly tricky. A report by estate agent Colliers International revealed that only 230,000 sq feet remained available in this much sought-after location. Offices that haven’t even been built yet are already being snapped up by pre-let occupiers.
Peter Gallagher, Director in the Manchester based National Offices Team of Colliers International, has explained that over the next two years the city will see ‘at least 1.2m sq ft of lease events for more than 3,000 sq ft and a further 1.12 million sq ft facing three or five-year rent review.’
But space is still up for grabs. Whether it’s a virtual residence or an entire floor, Manchester’s office spaces are much cheaper than their London equivalents.
- Use the workforce
Whilst other Northern cities boast only a moderate number of tech-jobs – Liverpool (23,000), Leeds (24,000) and Sheffield (19,000) – Manchester blows its neighbours out of the water with 63,000 people working in tech-related roles.
Statistics recently released by Colliers International show that around 40% of their new enquiries are coming from the technological sector, as operators try to gain access to the Manchester’s qualified workforce.
This brimming pool of talent is attracting the numerous tech companies flocking towards the UK’s ‘second city’.
- Admire the infrastructure
Manchester is well known for its iconic cityscape. A combination of new developments and cultural heritage makes the city architecturally distinct. New residential builds and office blocks have been transforming the city centre, as Manchester adapts to its resident’s modern needs.
A workforce can be accommodated in high-rise new builds, like the 754 homes across four buildings set to border Angel Meadow Park. Manchester’s cultural scene will be vitalised by projects like the St John’s development, set to include a luxury hotel, a private members club and a rooftop pool. The Spinningfields development, perhaps the crux of Manchester’s economic ascent, has recently sold its final office building for an astonishing £200m.
2017 has seen plans for new high-quality homes, fresh bars, venues and clubs as well as complexes of contemporary offices that will reshape the silhouette of the city.
- Appreciate a work-life balance
Many of the companies relocating to Manchester are drawn to the city’s unique ethos. Mancunians are known to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. The city is fast-paced and dynamic, but it seems to lack London’s commitment to the daily grind.
WeWork have been vocal about the ‘fantastic work-life balance’ that Manchester seems to promise. As companies begin to rethink how business should interact with pleasure, the city’s more equitable approach is giving it an undeniable edge.
So, as Manchester’s technological sphere begins to blossom, there’s never been a better time to relocate to the Northern city. New accommodation, an adept workforce and a scramble for the remaining office space all contribute to Manchester’s flourishing reputation. Making use of this unique city’s new developments could turn a tech startup into a tech empire.