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Belfast’s creative industry ranked in UK Top 25 cities
Belfast is a major creative talent city and also a leading UK creative talent market according to a report by CBRE. The CBRE Creative Regions Report evaluates the competitiveness and future potential of UK regional locations, outside London, as destinations for the creative industries.
The report ranks Belfast eleventh in the CBRE UK Regional Top 25, with cities including Manchester, Reading, Edinburgh, Cambridge and Glasgow in the Top 5. Belfast is positioned ahead of Southampton, Newcastle, Nottingham, Sheffield, Liverpool and Cardiff. The city also scores highly in the CBRE index for: creative employment growth in the past 5 years, projected employment growth in the next five years, affordable cost of space, strong educational attainment, proximity to universities and cost of living comparisons to other locations.
One of the city’s most famous creative outputs is the fantasy series Game of Thrones which has catapulted the city and the region into the premier league of global production locations. It has also helped focus attention on the city from global production companies. The city is now well known for its expertise in all areas of TV and film production and this has attracted international and television companies such as Universal, Fox UK, HBO, BBC, Channel 4, UTV, amongst others. Further growth in this sector is anticipated and will be accelerated if Belfast can build on its existing strengths and promote cross-fertilisation between creative industries.
Suzanne Wylie, chief executive, Belfast City Council said: “Belfast’s ranking in this report is significant recognition of the city’s burgeoning reputation in the creative sector. We have made huge progress in recent years attracting major productions including Game of Thrones, Dracula Untold and Lost City of Z but also television drama, independent film, documentary production as well as animation and gaming. The city also has a new film studio ready for business, Belfast Harbour Studios located in Giant’s Park. This development together with the level of talent available here and the quality of life the city offers, gives me confidence that Belfast will not only move into the top 10 but will climb even further in the coming years.”
David Wright, director, CBRE, said: “The tech phenomena looks set to continue in the UK. Technology and creative industries in general are not affected by regulatory restrictions or fears over single market access. Contrary to common perception, large numbers of these companies are based outside of London in regional cities such as Belfast and we expect this trend to continue. Evidence shows that regional cities such as Belfast also have a critical mass of talent necessary to compete successfully in this sector. There are also many other tempting reasons to locate in this city including quality of life, access to large talent pools and favourable cost of living compared to London. Indeed, given the cost of higher education and the cost of living in major cities such as London, regional cities like Belfast are increasingly proving an attractive proposition for graduates and employers.”
Emma Jackson, associate director, CBRE Research commented: “As this sector continues to grow, the choice of office space and where to locate will be ever more critical to its sustainability and future growth. Through an in-depth understanding of the unique characteristics and potential of particular markets, which this new research offers, businesses will be better placed to make effective, cost efficient and informed property decisions that will greatly aid in the quest to attract and also crucially to retain the best talent to create competitive advantage.”