As London’s financial services sector continues to downsize, it has been left up to technology companies to take up the resulting slack in the property market.
2011 saw the amount of London office space taken by telecoms, tech and internet startup companies double, with the tech industry as a whole snapping up around 1.3 million square feet of commercial space over the year. This figure is up from just 610,000 square feet taken by tech firms in London in 2010.
This significant surge in demand for property by tech firms is great news for graduates and trainees hoping to find IT jobs in UK companies, and indicates the increasing importance of the sector to the recovery of the country’s economy. London’s Old Street has been a focal point for tech firms in London over the past ten years, spawning the name ‘Silicon Roundabout’ and its popularity continues. Schroders now owns property in the area, further strengthening its image as a thriving business community.
However, while Old Street receives significant amounts of press and attention as the epicenter of London’s technological renewal, data from property group Knight Frank has shown that tech firms are also taking up office space in other areas of the city. James Roberts, head of commercial research at Knight Frank, explained in a recent interview with the Financial Times why tech companies were spreading themselves around commercial areas of London.
“Silicon Roundabout has been a magnet for the start-ups for some time but the bigger companies are realising that they need to be in London to hire the best people,” said Mr Roberts. “The difference is they need the kind of space usually taken by banks and big consumer-facing companies, so they come into the City or the West End.”
In 2011 alone, tech behemoth Google took up 155,000 square feet of commercial space in Covent Garden, while Groupon took 43,000 square feet of office space in the City. With Nokia set to take office space in Paddington for its UK headquarters, things are looking good for those wishing to build IT careers in London. Companies see the city as a source of rich pickings for new staff, and the future for UK IT professionals, as well as IT recruiters, is looking bright.