A new report claims Manchester’s strong tech sector means its economic prospects are comparable to those of London despite a relatively bleak overall outlook for the UK over the next five years.
Property expert Savills said in its ‘Manchester Office: Market Spotlight report’ that the Manchester office market has seen more TMT take-up in the last 17 years than any other city outside London – and it expects that dominance to continue.
“With the overall outlook for the UK economy looking comparatively dull for the next five years, Manchester’s economy continues to impress,” the report stated.
“The outlook for Manchester and Salford is more in line with that of London and the best towns of the south than with the other regional centres.
“The continued growth of the TMT and other sectors will also more than compensate for any declines in headcount in finance or the public sector, and we expect that total office-based employment in Manchester will grow by 4.7 per cent over the next five years.”
Manchester has long been at the forefront of new media in the UK and the recent Tech Nation 2017 report estimated that the city currently supports 62,653 digital jobs creating an output of £2.8 billion per annum.
Its tech infrastructure is broad, with strong higher education, high levels of graduate retention and a mix of accelerators and funding organisations.
This will be further enhanced by the opening of Mi-IDEA and the Sir Henry Royce Institute for Advanced Materials in 2019.
Savills expects key growth areas for the future to include advanced materials, cyber security and digital post-production.
It sounded a word of warning, however: “The biggest challenge for the city will be providing suitable office space for companies in these sectors.
“While we expect the big brands to be well catered for, more flexible and affordable office space is needed.”