Commercial property: Triumphant tale of twin tech cities

A report released by property consultancy CBRE has underlined Scotland’s strengths as a leading technology sector destination, with Glasgow and Edinburgh ranked second and third in the survey of activityin the UK outside London.

Published last week, the TecHCities report ranks the top 25 UK locations for tech businesses, rating pull factors such as level of education, concentrations of similar businesses and employment, cost of living, cost

of office space and wage levels.

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The CBRE study highlights shifts in the cities’ tech and creative industries profiles over the last two years, with Glasgow climbing three places to become the UK’s second-top tech destination outside London, behind

Manchester, and Edinburgh maintaining its third-place position.

Doug Smith, Chairman of CBRE Scotland, said: “The fact that Scotland’s two principal cities are ranked so highly in the UK outside London is an incredibly positive story.

The digital tech sector added £14 billion to the UK economy in 2018, up 8 per cent since 2016, and the sector is growing three times faster than the rest of the economy.

“The creative industries sector, which encompasses businesses from tech to media and telecoms, is therefore fundamental to the future success of Scotland.”

Factors contributing to the very strong rankings scored by both Glasgow and Edinburgh include high concentrations of tech businesses and professionals, generational diversity and a strong creative arts


The two cities also draw strength from high levels of educational attainment and access to a number of world-class universities, with strong research and computer science degree rankings.

Key findings in the report indicated that Glasgow ranks joint first with Manchester for computer science degrees, while Edinburgh lies in fifth position.

Commenting on Glasgow coming second in the TechCities survey,

Andy Cunningham, senior director at CBRE,said: “It’s a real coup for the city but – as it’s home to some of the world’s most creative and talented engineers, architects and designers and is now attracting a new generation of innovative tech start-ups with a strong focus on data science – it’s no real surprise.

“We tend to think of Glasgow’s tech industry being focused along traditional sectors such as banking, finance and insurance.

However, it’s pleasing to see other growth sectors operating at the cutting edge of alternative disciplines, including biotechnology, artificial intelligence, space science, financial technology and computer games technology.”

Councillor Susan Aitken, the leader of Glasgow City Council, said: “Our commitment is for Glasgow to be sector leading in a number of growth industries – including the digital and tech sectors – and we are

delighted that our city has moved up the rankings in this year’s CBRE report.

“Just this week, KPMG announced that almost 400 new fintech jobs will be created in their managed services hub in St Vincent Street, one of only two in the UK, and paid testament to the outstanding quality of Glasgow’s skills in data and technology.

“The development of hubs such as Tontine and the two Innovation Districts in Glasgow will take what is already a fantastic environment for both established and start-up businesses in this sector – a key part of

our future economic growth – to the next level.”