The coronavirus pandemic has seen organisations in all sectors find new, innovative ways of working. From remote and hybrid offices, to the adoption of new digital technologies like video conferencing and cloud computing; the pace of change has been unprecedented.
Another significant trend - one that was well established before the pandemic but has continued to grow - is the rise in northshoring; businesses moving all or part of their operations from the South to more cost effective locations in the North.
Many businesses - from early stage startups to multi-national corporations - have recognised the benefits that come from having a base in the North, both for the business, and its employees.
The North of England’s potential as a leading destination for business gained national and international recognition with the launch of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’. The current government’s levelling up agenda is again putting more focus on the economic opportunities that exist in towns and cities outside of the traditional financial and economic centres of London and the South East.
More and more businesses are choosing to set up global operations in North East England
Here in North East England, we’ve become a northshoring success story. In recent years, a number of businesses from the South East have relocated or established major operations in the region including Verisure, Xplor Technologies, Accenture. Atom Bank, Oliver Wyman, Ocado, and Just Eat. They are benefitting from life in the North East after moving away from the congested and over-heated South East of England.
So what are the main drivers for businesses making the move to North East England? Workforce is key.
The region’s workforce of 1.2 million has one of the lowest staff turnover rates in the country, as well as lower salary costs compared with the rest of the UK. This, coupled with its legendary friendliness and adaptability, makes North East England’s workforce one of its greatest strengths.
Sir Richard Branson said of his workforce at Newcastle headquartered Virgin Money: “The people in the North East are delightful. They’re enthusiastic, hard working and they know how to party. A company full of Geordies is unbeatable.”
This region’s workforce was the main reason that only last month, online food delivery company, Just Eat, announced it would create more than 1,500 new customer service jobs over the next 12 months in Sunderland. Just Eat recognised the importance of accessing outstanding talent pools outside of London and the South East, and the North East has all the right ingredients it is looking for.
Access to world-class universities, R&D expertise, and global markets
North East England’s globally ranked universities underpin the region’s competitiveness by delivering a pipeline of fresh talent. The 110,000 students studying in the region’s five universities and thousands more in its network of colleges are developing the skills and talents to lead growing industries including business services, tech and digital, life sciences, and advanced manufacturing. The region’s academic institutions work closely with industry to deliver bespoke courses that support talent development and business growth.
North East England’s abundance of Grade A office accommodation provides companies with affordable and flexible spaces to grow. Business services companies have flocked to the region’s landmark office sites, including Barclaycard, which has moved to The BEAM in Sunderland, and Verisure, which has moved to Quorum Park in North Tyneside. New developments such as The Glassworks in South Shields, Millburngate in Durham, and Bank House in Newcastle city centre – overlooking the iconic Tyne Bridge – provide more quality accommodation for businesses moving to the region.
Good connectivity is important to all businesses, and North East England’s road, rail, air and sea links ensure companies are well connected domestically and internationally. Newcastle International Airport provides daily flights to London, European hubs and Dubai, connecting North East England to the rest of the world. The East Coast Mainline ensures great access from Durham, Newcastle and Sunderland city centres to London within three hours, with around 60 trains running every day.
Workers enjoy low commute times and some of the least congested roads in the UK. We are also home to the Tyne and Wear Metro, the largest rapid transport system outside of London. Its 60 stations provide speedy access to Newcastle, Gateshead, Sunderland, Newcastle International Airport, and to our beautiful coastline.
North East England offers employees an improved quality of life
The coronavirus pandemic has put employees’ health and wellbeing into sharp focus and businesses are working hard to ensure their staff enjoy a healthier work life balance. Here in North East England, people are only a short journey away from some of the best coast and countryside the UK has to offer, and that’s a huge selling point for business looking to attract and retain quality staff. Because of the region’s shorter commuting time, it’s entirely possible to leave the office in the centre of Newcastle at 17:30 and be on a glorious white sand surfing beach by 18:30.
The region’s ability to provide a balanced work and home life has played a significant role in attracting business to locate here.
Is it time for your business to ‘move on up’?
I invite you to join the growing number of businesses choosing to ‘move on up’ to North East England so you too can enjoy the benefits that come from having a base in our region.
Visit our website - investnortheastengland.co.uk - to find out more, and hear first hand from businesses like fintech startup Honcho, and international technology and consulting business Saggezza, about why they’ve chosen to grow their business in North East England.