London has been voted the number one destination for businesses to locate global teams and innovate despite uncertainty around Brexit, according to new figures published by the City of London Corporation and the City Property Association.

The findings show that 37% of more than 450 senior leaders of large companies surveyed in the world’s top central business districts viewed London as the best location for global teams, placing the capital ahead of New York (26%), Paris (20%) and Singapore (17%). With half of companies surveyed naming collaboration across and within business teams as the most important factor in driving innovation, 94% of respondents scored London positively for this factor - including 54% that described its offer as ‘world leading’.

London is also the frontrunner as a global city for innovation that increases revenue, with 35% of respondents rating it top followed by New York (31%) with Singapore (17%) and Paris (15%) lagging behind.

The results feature in the City Corporation’s annual research publication, this year titled Locate, create and innovate: London in a changing world’, will be presented at global property exhibition, MIPIM, at 11:00 on Thursday 14 March.

As businesses undergo rapid transformation through technology, the research explores how recruitment, retention and business location decisions are informed by short and long-term drivers of change and what this means for real estate and location decisions.

Catherine McGuinness, Policy Chair of the City of London Corporation, said:

“With weeks to go until Britain officially leaves the European Union, London’s appeal as a global business hub is more important than ever. This data shows that businesses place a high value on the capital’s innovative cluster of talent and creative energy when it comes to making location decisions.

“Firms across the board are becoming more and more technologically focussed. In just five years we have seen a 31% increase in London’s information and communications jobs, while international workers make up 40% of London’s highly-skilled tech workforce.

“As the concentration of financial, professional services and TMT industries blend, it is vital that London continues to be the first to attract top talent. This is a vital factor alongside the City’s business landscape, commercial real estate, and mixed offering of flexible workspace, culture and lively public spaces, when it comes to ensuring its continuing appeal to domestic and international investors.”

‘Locate, create and innovate: London in a changing world’, was produced through interviews and roundtables with 65 large multinationals, and fast-growing scale-up businesses across financial services, telecoms, law and insurance and top property specialists and firms.

It explores how changing needs and rapid technological transformations are shaping location decisions for businesses. The key emerging trends include:

  • Access to top talent is a key consideration in firms’ location decisions;
  • As technological advances drive business, the need for human interactions, face to face meetings and relationships, has become even more important;
  • A growing, strategic drive to consolidation, not simply as a cost saving function but in order to get the right people together to drive innovation and better ways of working – in buildings specially structured to meet their needs;
  • 72% of firms in financial, insurance and professional services referred to the usage of new technology as the key factor in determining whether a company is seen as innovative
  • Firms are demanding properties with lease terms that can accommodate rapid growth
  • The property industry is increasingly ‘curating’ diverse tenants to create a compelling offer for tech firms, who want to be part of a community of innovators

David Ainsworth, President of the City Property Association, said:

“Across all sectors, companies are using data and new technologies to drive growth and productivity. This report shows that the rise of tech is, counter-intuitively, increasing demand for workspace that encourages human interaction.

London’s property industry is rising to this challenge. In the City and across Central London the collaborative workplaces of the future are being built, alongside world-class public spaces and exciting cultural and retail experiences. This dynamism ensures that London is a world-leader in fostering innovation and attracting global business.”

The research of 459 senior business leaders of large companies in global central business districts was undertaken by global advisory group FTI Consulting in January 2019.

Notes to editors

1. The Locate, create and innovate: London in a changing world report is available here: https://www.cityoflondon.gov.uk/business/economic-research-and-information/research-publications/Pages/locate-create-and-innovate-london-in-a-changing-world.aspx

2. About the City of London Corporation

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK. www.cityoflondon.gov.uk

3. About the City Property Association

City Property Association (CPA) is a not-for-profit membership body representing the leading owners, investors, professional advisors and developers of real estate in the Square Mile and its neighbouring commercial districts.

Established in 1904, the Association has over 150 corporate members, including nine FTSE 100 and 250 companies. www.citypropertyassociation.com

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