Bristol: Primed for a boom?

by Heat Recruitment

By James Ackland

Combining the buzzing culture of a big city with the community spirit of a close-knit town, it has built a reputation for being one of the best places to do business in the UK. For those who remain unconvinced, a short walk through the city centre should provide enough proof; the diverse blend of independent retailers, the creativity that bursts at the seams of every building and the wave of new developments in the harbourside showcase Bristol as a hub for both local and multi-national businesses.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

While Bristol may be famed for Banksy, Brunel and the Balloon Fiesta, there’s more to the city than meets the eye. In this blog, we explore the tangible benefits that it holds for both employers and employees highlighted by research conducted at the UCL School of Management, which analysed the key industries that have put Bristol on the map.

Foundations for a successful start-up

Boasting close proximity to the capital while retaining a distinct identity of its own, it’s easy to see how Bristol was ranked the number one place to grow and start a business in 2017 – stealing the top spot from London itself. These findings rank the country’s most highly populated towns – before assessing them for availability, cost and quality of life.

One notable factor that contributed towards this victory is the affordable office space available. Offering an average price of £2.52 per square foot, Bristol out-performed the UK average of £3.16, and of course, London’s steep average of £52.20. For those looking for something a little more short-term, Bristol also offers an abundance of co-working facilities throughout the centre and beyond.

A strong commercial landscape

Bristol remains one of the UK’s most affluent cities, boasting a wide range of employment opportunities for eager graduates and established professionals alike.

In a report conducted by property advisory firm CBRE, Bristol was named as the largest legal centre outside of London, with an estimated 875,000 square foot of the city occupied by law firms. While this can be attributed to the transport links Bristol has with the capital city, a great talent pool of young law students graduating from Bristol-based universities has attracted the industry’s key players such as Burges Salmon, Osborne Clarke and Ashfords LLP.

As well as this, Bristol has a long-standing reputation for a thriving financial sector, which currently employs over 59,000 staff alone. From investment firms and actuaries to financial advisors and mortgage brokers, Bristol offers a vast range of exciting opportunities for finance professionals looking to call the growing city home.

A centre for innovation

Hailed for its entrepreneurial spirit, Bristol has remained at the forefront of new technological developments for quite some time. In fact, a recent report from Tech Nation has revealed Bristol and Bath to be the most productive tech and digital clusters in the country.

Further to this, the UK’s first Smart Cities Index has listed Bristol as the leading smart city outside London, noting open data access, community engagement and energy innovation as its main strengths. This is a testament to Bristol’s commitment to driving transformational change on a global scale, as well as its collective ability to deliver on projects that positively impact the population.

This is illustrated by the success of the Bristol Temple Quarter Enterprise Zone, a regeneration programme that has already generated £7 million for the economy within 12 months of opening. By 2021, a £300m university campus featuring a ‘Digital Innovation Hub’ and a ‘business school of the future’ will complement the Enterprise Zone, a development which will solidify Bristol as a world leader in digital innovation.

With the list of benefits of living in Bristol growing by the day, it’s no surprise that the population is rapidly increasing alongside it. Students, graduates and professionals have all played a hand in shaping the city into the forward-thinking hub for creativity and innovation that it is today. With new developments such as Temple Quarter and Redcliffe Wharf attracting investment from global players, it’s clear that Bristol’s success story has no plans of slowing down any time soon.

If you’re thinking of making your way to Bristol, or a new career is in your sights, then get in touch. We recruit across the Legal, Financial, IT, Engineering and Insurance markets – we can help find the right role for you.

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