Reading: A perfect location for business?

ReadingBirmingham may be the second city and Leeds may be the biggest financial district outside of London, but the humble town of Reading has one of the most impressive economies in the country.

We all know that London has suction; it attracts workers from afar afield as Yorkshire, to a certain degree so does Reading. During peak times there are 30,000 inward commuters to 26,000 outbound commuters. For those in the Information Technology (IT), Reading has a certain gravitas.

With major IT companies Fujitsu, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, Oracle, Verizon and Intel all having offices there, Reading, after London, is the IT hub of Britain. It is not just technological companies that are attracted to Reading; the Big Four accounting firms Deloitte, PwC, Ernst & Young and KPMG have all set up shop there, while PepsiCo and Holiday Inn have offices within the town.

Due to these major corporations being based in the Berkshire capital, jobs in Reading are some of the most secure in Britain. The IT sector is only going to see more exponential growth and as such there will be further job creation, rather than job cutting. This is evident in the 78.1% employment rate of Reading for the year 2013, the highest in the country, and by the fact that only 1.6% of the population are claiming Job Seekers Allowance.

The year 2012 saw 51.9 businesses start-ups per 10,000 population, the fifth best in the country, and with the country seemingly exiting the brutal recession that we have been in, expect more and more businesses to start.

With an average wage of £606 a week, the second highest in the country and £104 higher than the national average, more and more citizens are going to head to Reading for work, 42.6% of the population have high-level qualifications, that number will only continue to rise as well.

Thanks to the numerous companies trying to muscle in, Reading office space is in high demand. The council is working to help the community meet the high demand. They have recently approved Benson Elliot’s revised plan to develop Station Hill, which will see five new buildings built. The 1.2m sq ft development will be mainly office space but there is 32,000 sq ft of shops and 9,000 sq ft of leisure.

As there is a clear need for improved infrastructure and office space, it is not just skilled workers that benefit. Low-level workers should find steady employment due to the Station Hill rebuilding process. Mass building is one of the biggest proponents of Keynesian economics. Due to unskilled workers having steady employment, they will have more money and thus more disposable income to spend in the local economy, meaning that Reading can only continue to grow, and what’s better it will grow from the ground up rather than the fifth floor.

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