Tech Talent flocking to Birmingham from costly London - Custard Factory

Tech Talent flocking to Birmingham from costly London

Posted by Chris Pettitt on October 20, 2016

Much has been made recently of the challenges facing London’s bustling tech community. Eye-watering living costs, ever-inflating overheads and an increasingly crowded marketplace are concerns that have since been compounded by the national economic uncertainty caused by June’s Brexit vote.

The fears felt by the companies, often small and innovative startups, are real enough for many to be considering moving their operations away from the capital. For the first time, lots of young entrepreneurs are casting their eyes away from London to seek out a more viable and nurturing haven. Birmingham can be, and is becoming, that place.


The burgeoning tech and digital economy pulsating away here in the UK’s second city is gradually attracting the gaze of small businesses once blind to anywhere north of the M25. A series of influential and respected think tanks have cited Birmingham as a prime location for investment.

In 2015’s World’s Most Competitive Cities Report by specialist locations magazine Site Selection, Birmingham was adjudged to have been the best city in Western Europe to invest in, placing ahead of both London and Berlin.

Many have already seen and taken the opportunity. Birmingham has the highest number of new start-ups and active businesses of any UK city outside of the capital. A recent report by commercial property experts Knight Frank reported that Brum had the highest uptake of office space among the major regional cities in the first half of 2016. The opportunity is there, and the brightest and most forward-thinking companies are recognising it and moving here.


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The cost of office space illustrates the advantage of relocating. An average price of £25 per square foot in Birmingham is a mere fraction of the huge average of £170 per square foot London-based companies are forking out. Advocates of the capital would argue that the extra costs incurred are offset by the huge market accessible to a London-based business. But in truth, with a rapidly evolving business economy that is increasingly moving online, as well as the progress of work on HS2 effectively shrinking the distance between the two cities, those arguments simply fail to stand up.

So what are some of the other perks of bringing your tech business to Birmingham?

– 194,600 working age population with NVQ Level 4 or above (2014)
– 4 universities
– Fantastic access to funding (B’ham City Council)
– Birmingham City Centre Enterprise Zone
– When HS2 is complete – 43 minute journey time to London
– 6,000+ digital media companies already here

In pure business terms, Birmingham makes sense. But with a thriving arts & culture scene growing exponentially, it is also a destination offering much to a young, creative and diverse workforce. The news has been littered in recent years with reports of millennials giving up the financial drudgery of London to pursue a more prosperous life in the Midlands.

The Custard Factory is one of the leading voices in championing Birmingham’s digital economy. Already home to dozens of innovative tech companies, we want to be the sanctuary for all of those young pioneers priced out of the capital. As the City grows, we grow. And we want you to be a part of that growth.


We have office space available, find out more HERE


(Sources: The Guardian,, Birmingham Mail, Start Up Donut, Business Birmingham)