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Top 10 Cities for Business

What’s the Best UK City for Business? (Spoiler Alert: It’s Not London!)

25th April 2016

Is London Losing its Crown as the Business Centre of the UK?

Sungard Availability Services Ranks UK Cities According to Business Capabilities

 

London, United Kingdom: Sungard Availability Services® (Sungard AS), a leading provider of information availability through managed IT, cloud and recovery services, has named Cambridge as the overall ‘best UK city for business’, after scoring consistently high on a wide variety of criteria. Oxford and Brighton follow Cambridge to take second and third place respectively.

Surprisingly, London failed to make it into the top three – thanks in part to the high rental prices and volume of competition. In fact, despite being considered a hub for new businesses, the UK capital could only manage ninth place when it came to start-up survival rate. It wasn’t all bad news for the city however, with London emerging as the most resilient location when it came to combating cyber security breaches. With Silicon Roundabout hosting around eight times as many tech firms as anywhere else in the UK, it seems the staff are putting their IT skills to good use and ensuring they have implemented the much-needed robust and reliable cyber defences 21st Century businesses demand.

“…With the complex IT landscape facing UK businesses today, it is unrealistic to expect one region to excel on all fronts. In order to succeed in the digital age – where customers across all sectors expect ‘all-time’ access and instant responsiveness – businesses should seek to work with experienced partners to help them identify and plug any gaps they may have. No matter what city they’re based in.”

— Keith Tilley, EVP, global sales & customer services management, Sungard AS

And although southern cities still dominated the overall ranking list, the findings – presented via an online interactive map of the UK – pointed towards a number of areas in which the North of the country is certainly flourishing.

When it came to start-up survival rates, York came out on top. Schemes such as the Whyte Knight Fund, which gives organisations the financial help and support that they need to establish themselves in the market, have clearly played a key role in nurturing the city’s entrepreneurial spirit. A testament to the ‘Northern Powerhouse’ initiative, York’s Northern compatriot Leeds was also placed highly, ranking number one when it comes to graduate talent.

With a thriving start-up culture in the North, cheaper rent and lower crime rates, could the North soon be tempting away skilled workers from the capital?

Challenges to Come?

However, both Leeds and York subsequently took the bottom two places when it came to average internet download speed. Having access to a fast and reliable internet connection is extremely important to all businesses – especially now that every organisation is expected to be ‘digital by default’. Although clearly not holding these cities back, this could be an issue that will need to be addressed if the North wishes to fully establish itself as a tech hub, or to compare with more favourably endowed regions of the UK.

Interestingly, it seems that there is no such thing as the perfect location – almost every city that came out on top for one criterion, was subsequently ranked bottom for another, suggesting that there is room for improvement and investment across the entire UK.

Commenting on the findings, Keith Tilley, EVP, ​global sales & customer services management, Sungard Availability Services said: “These findings certainly paint an interesting picture for different business capabilities across the UK. Traditionally London has been viewed as the business and digital hub for the UK, so it’s great to see other cities across our country excelling in different areas, such as access to graduate talent, start-up survival rate and average download speed.

“One thing is clear, however, where there is a strength, there is also a weakness; and with the complex IT landscape facing UK businesses today, it is unrealistic to expect one region to excel on all fronts. In order to succeed in the digital age – where customers across all sectors expect ‘all-time’ access and instant responsiveness – businesses should seek to work with experienced partners to help them identify and plug any gaps they may have.  No matter what city they’re based in.”

 

A full interactive breakdown of the results can be found here: http://www.sungardas.co.uk/top-10-cities-for-business/Pages/index.aspx

 

About the research:

To compile this ranking Sungard AS analysed 10 cities using the following sources:

Startups, Starting a business: The UK statistics (December 2015); Startups; Starting a business in London: Borough by borough statistics (March 2015); Cable.co.uk, Broadband in your local area, Zoopla, Commercial Property for Sale; Gov.Scot, Recorded Crime in Scotland 2014-15 (September 2015); pwc, 2014 Information security breaches survey; nomis, Local Authority Profile; Office for National Statistics, Population Estimates for UK; Department for Education, Government publishes destination data for the first time (June 2012); Office for National Statistics, Regional labour market, (February 2016); Office for National Statistics, All data related to Crime in England and Wales: Year ending March 2015, (March 2015).

The ten cities chosen were those that had all of the metric data available. These ten cities were then analysed and ranked based on each of the following categories:

  1. Crime rate
  2. Graduate talent
  3. Employment rate
  4. Average office price (sq. ft.)
  5. Start-up survival rate
  6. Average download speed
  7. Cyber security breaches
  8. Top occupational group
  9. Population density
  10. Graduate population

 The 10 UK cities that were analysed to compile this ranking are as follows (top 3 indicated in bold type):

  1. Brighton (#3)
  2. Bristol
  3. Cambridge (#1)
  4. Edinburgh
  5. Leeds
  6. London
  7. Northampton
  8. Oxford (#2)
  9. Sheffield
  10. York

Brand Statement

The abbreviation for Sungard Availability Services is ‘Sungard AS’ as cited above.  Please use ‘Sungard AS’ when abbreviating the name rather than ‘Sungard’ or ‘SunGard,’ which may confuse the reader with another separate company with a similar name.