Posted on January 26, 2017 by staff

Landlords must be tech-savvy to ‘avoid missing next Google’


Landlords need to understand the tech market and take a punt on businesses to ‘avoid missing out on the next Google’.

Stephen Downey, corporate director of property consultancy GL Hearn, stressed the future looks ‘rosy’, but only if owners are willing to ‘get with it’.

He was speaking at BusinessCloud’s Tech in Property roundtable, which was sponsored by GL Hearn.

Downey said: “Because the tech sector is so dynamic and so fast growing, the theme, I would say, is flexibility.

“If landlords can get with it, get entrepreneurial and understand that some of these businesses are tomorrow’s Google, they can look into the balance sheet beyond that and take a bit of a punt at times.

“I think the future looks very, very rosy.

“Those landlords in commercial property that can understand the tech market, take the time to understand the tech market,  [can] analyse it and get to understand the businesses  – and make some commitment.”

The commercial director also believes property has a big role to play in what he called a ‘war for talent’ in the tech sector.

Businesses must adapt premises to reflect their working culture, in order to attract and retain the right staff.

He added: “There’s definitely a strong theme. Undoubtedly, top of the league would be this war for talent. That seems to be the challenge.

“It brings an interesting dynamic into the demand supply line for the availability of talent, ensuring that Manchester as a city can feed that pipeline for talent.

“We’re going to have challenges within that business as well, in terms of rising salary costs because of that.

“Interestingly I think that property can play a role in that war for talent – there’s the discussion about attracting the right talent, and retaining the talent once you’ve got that.

“Therefore, your space and your property does reflect your culture, does reflect your businesss requirements. It’s this front of shop… property attracts the talent in the first place.

“It is that visible message of your business that comes across which is so important.”

Also speaking to BusinessCloud editor Chris Maguire in the podcast above were Chris Bailey-Jones, offices manager for Moneysupermarket, Sam Routledge, CTO of Softcat, Jack Barmby, CEO at Gnatta and VST Enterprises CEO Louis-James Davis.