The Tech Cities report, produced by global commercial property consultancy CBRE, ranks the top UK locations for tech businesses.

Following an inaugural CBRE study in 2017, and using the same methodology to analyse data on 65 cities throughout the UK, the new report provides an update on the top 25 locations for companies in the tech sector.

All markets were scored and ranked according to a wide range of locational pull factors for tech businesses, such as level of education, concentrations of tech businesses and employment, cost of living, cost of office space and wage levels.

The report highlights various 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, and Edinburgh maintaining its third place position.

Factors contributing to the very strong rankings scored by both Glasgow and Edinburgh are highlighted in the report.

These include high concentrations of tech businesses and tech professionals, generational diversity and a strong creative arts legacy.

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

Key findings include:

  • For computer science degrees, Glasgow ranks joint first with Manchester and Edinburgh is very high too, in fifth position
  • Both cities have high numbers of Information & Communications SMEs (Edinburgh fifth highest and Glasgow seventh out of 65) and high numbers of people employed in the sector (Glasgow is fifth highest and Edinburgh eighth out of 65)
  • Both cities have a large ratio of millennials (Edinburgh 28.5% and Glasgow 24.2% of the population) and a high proportion of the population qualified to NVQ 4 or above (Glasgow ranks third and Edinburgh fifth out of 65)

Doug Smith, CBRE Scotland chair, 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.”

Kate Forbes MSP, Scottish Government Minister for Public Finance and Digital Economy, said: “It is great to see Glasgow and Edinburgh once again recognised as powerful twin centres for tech investment in the UK.

“With only 45 minutes between these two complementary cities, they have rightly established themselves at the vanguard of gaming, cloud computing, biotech, cyber security and data-led solutions.

“Their combined strength in universities, research and talent markets should see them stay at the peak of this CBRE index for years to come. “The Scottish Government and our enterprise and skills agencies will continue to do all we can to support these cities and the companies who choose them to remain at the cutting edge of digital development.”



Tech Cities report