The government may be pursuing its own levelling up agenda, but increasing numbers of national and international firms are choosing to open major offices in Birmingham.
The West Midlands city of Birmingham, often hailed as England’s “second city”, has seen its economic prospects go from strength to strength in recent years, spurred on by the likes of the Commonwealth Games and the planned opening of HS2.
The city itself is a hive of regeneration, new developments and transformational transport and infrastructure plans that are well underway. The Birmingham Big City plan is behind some of this progress, and a number of major companies are now putting the city directly in their crosshairs as a result.
Most recently, American multinational investment bank Goldman Sachs has announced that it will sign a 10-year lease on office space in Birmingham which is expected to house up to 800 staff – making the business a major employer for the city and further spurring on progress in levelling up the country.
Attracting top talent
The new customised office space is forecast to be ready in early 2024, according to managing director and the head of the Birmingham office, Gurjit Jagpal. The business already had a presence in the city, with 230 staff based in a flexible lease facility, so this move will solidify the company’s new home.
While the London office is still the base for around 6,000 members of staff, the company has set out its aim to target the talent living away from the capital. This keen focus on levelling up for the company means there is scope for further expansion.
“We are diversifying locations to attract and hire talent. Post-pandemic the trend you’re seeing is we are having to go to places where talent wants to be,” Jagpal said.
Goldman Sachs is not the only big business to have changed direction in terms of location in recent years. While the pandemic certainly pushed many workers to reassess their work-life balance and potentially move away from London, the cost of living crisis could prove to be a further push for many.
Accenture is another company that has set up a West Midlands base, with the same levelling up aims in mind, while a new audit regulator for the UK government is also planning a move to Birmingham. Deutsche Bank and HSBC both already have offices there.
Finance jobs are levelling up
Birmingham was recently named as the top city in England for job opportunities in the financial sector, after London. According to a report by UK trading company CMC Markets, employment prospects in the city have been soaring in recent years, attracting increasing numbers of graduates.
The study found that Birmingham is home to 265 financial institutions. While all of the bases currently are small or mid-sized, with no more than around 250 people per office, this is set to change with the arrival of the new Goldman Sachs office – and many more.
Nearby in Solihull – another area that is currently the target of some major regeneration thanks to the planned HS2 station there – there is also a high proportion of banking companies and jobs there in comparison to the local population; a further sign of levelling up.
Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets, commented on the findings: “We were pleased to find out that these finance-friendly places are not necessarily the most populous cities in the UK.
“London is extremely competitive and the lifestyle is not everyone’s cup of tea, so it is refreshing to know where the best places to pursue a career in finance are that are way off the beaten path.”
BuyAssociation is involved with some exciting new developments in Birmingham and the surrounding area. If you’re interested in investing in property in the West Midlands, get in touch for more information.