Despite high confidence in the local economy, two in five (38%) technology workers in the North believe Manchester requires improved internet connectivity to make it more attractive to UK-based tech companies.
This is according to research commissioned by WiredScore, the world’s leading digital connectivity rating scheme for commercial property.
With Manchester already thriving as the UK’s largest tech cluster outside of London, the new online study looks into potential ways of attracting more business to the growing tech hub.
Confidence in the city is high, with just under three quarters (73%) of northern technology professionals professing confidence in the local economy. The local talent pool, the city’s industrial heritage, and its commercial real estate prices are all cited as key factors in what makes Manchester an attractive tech hub (69%, 65%, and 58% respectively).
However, one in 10 of those surveyed believe that poor connectivity could damage the city’s reputation by discouraging Manchester-based entrepreneurs. A further 10 percent of respondents also claimed that current connectivity levels give a poor impression of the city to potential investors, and could put off businesses from operating in Manchester.
The report supports WiredScore’s launch in Manchester, its first UK city outside of London. WiredScore is now working with a number of progressive local agents and landlords to certify and make improvements to their properties’ connectivity infrastructure: including CBRE Global Investors, Kennedy Wilson Europe, Legal & General Investment Management, Peel, Property Alliance, NOMA/Hermes Investment Management, Schroders and Helical.
WiredScore’s report: ‘Manchester: A Connected Future’ reveals that:
A connected future
Connectivity is crucial to digital businesses. And it’s no secret that UK companies need faster, more reliable, more affordable internet to be able to grow.
WiredScore’s report: ‘Connecting Manchester – the digital attraction’ reveals that confidence for the city to deliver in this area is relatively high, with almost two thirds (62%) of tech workers claiming that they believe there are no poor areas of connectivity in the city.
However, poor connectivity is clearly perceived as a threat to Manchester’s future, with one in five respondents saying they believe it could have a negative impact on the city.
The commercial real estate industry has a critical role to play in sending a message that Manchester is the perfect city in which to start a business. A third (32%) of northern tech workers believe that more businesses will be attracted to the city if landlords were able to offer greater/improved connectivity.
William Newton, UK director, WiredScore, said:
“Manchester has long been a hub of innovation in this country, and has gone from being the heart of industrial revolution, to a centre of Britain’s digital evolution. However, and certainly post-Brexit, no British city can rest on its laurels and must continuously look to future growth.
“It is essential that developers and landlords in Manchester consider the ever-more important role of technology in business – both for tech companies and otherwise - and provide the connectivity that meets the current and future needs of their occupiers. With its vast talent pool and thriving tech community, Manchester has the potential to be a leading global capital of technology if it can demonstrate it’s a future-proofed choice for entrepreneurs and investors - at home and from further afield.”
Sir Howard Bernstein, Chief Executive of Manchester City Council, said:
"Over the past 40 years, I’ve witnessed a dramatic change in Manchester’s local economy – but today, the city is on the verge of assuming its potential as a global leader in the digital economy. To achieve this, both the public and private sector must work together to ensure that every Mancunian business has the opportunity and resources to reach its potential – and connectivity has undoubtedly become a crucial element of this. That’s why I am delighted that WiredScore is now supporting Manchester’s property community in improving its underlying connectivity infrastructure to enable future business growth.”
WiredScore commissioned YouGov to interview 306 technology industry workers in the North of England about their perceptions of the city. The polling was conducted over a four-day period between the 25th and 29th August 2016.