Edinburgh ranks 15th on list of 100-plus cities due to talent pool

Edinburgh has been ranked 15th among more than 100 cities globally for its “world-leading” concentration of talent, according to a new report from JLL.

JLL said the Scottish capital is attractive to investors, developers and corporates. Picture: Ian Rutherford.

The commercial property adviser said its innovation geographies report suggests that Edinburgh’s performance in JLL’S talent concentration index is due to six key factors.

These comprise being home to tech incubator CodeBase and a thriving tech scene; its renowned universities; its highly educated workforce; its relatively high population of 20- to 40-year-olds; its relatively high level of research and development (R&D) spend; and its receipt of more high-tech foreign direct investment than any other UK city outside London from 2015 to 2018.

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The index is led by London, followed by US cities dominating the uppermost rankings, including Washington DC, Boston and San Francisco Bay. Paris comes in second in Europe, followed by several smaller cities including Oslo, Zurich, Helsinki and Edinburgh.

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According to JLL’s report, cities that combine strong innovation capabilities and talent concentrations have outperformed in economic terms over the last couple of decades. It also flagged a strong link between innovation and talent-rich cities and property performance, "showing that high-performing innovation and talent-concentrated cities have recorded the fastest, most vigorous office rental growth over the past decade and are attracting a higher proportion of real estate capital".

Jon Neale, head of UK research at JLL said: “UK cities outside of London are increasingly talent-rich and this is evident in how much the economies of cities including Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham have improved in recent years. This is not just spin, it is obvious from the employment numbers. But investment in infrastructure and R&D needs to increase to turn them into world class innovation hubs which can compete with continental hubs such as Munich or Amsterdam.”

Ben Reed, JLL’s lead director of regional tenant representation, said: “Edinburgh is well placed to benefit as the war for talent continues to push both corporates and investors to secondary, more affordable talent hotspots. Not only is the capital continuing to grow quickly, but it also offers access to a young, well-educated workforce. The supply of talent from our world-leading universities, aligned to the growth of a dynamic tech ecosystem, have created an environment which is attractive to investors, developers and corporates.”