Stockport’s labour force is playing a key role in attracting newbusinesses to the region, according to one of the largestprivately-owned development and investment companies in the UK.
Customer research conducted by Orbit Developments has shown thatbusinesses moving to the area consistently rank the town’s labourdemographics highly amongst other factors, including connectivity,cost and location.
With a population of 284,600, Stockport is home to an estimated128,700 employees, making it one of thelargest labour pools in the North West. This, combined with ahighly skilled and productive workforce, has helped to establishStockport as an important business location and is believed to bebehind the recent arrival of high-profile companies in the town,including British Sky Broadcasting.
Speaking of the importance of labour in the Stockport market,Rhys Owen, leasing surveyor at Orbit Developments, said: “We askall tenants to highlight their reasons for relocation and thequality of the local labour pool is consistently ranked as one ofthe most important factors.
“We have recently seen an increase in demand from service-basedcompanies looking to relocate their back office, businessadministration and support services to the area. For them, accessto a high volume of skilled workers is fundamental to theirdecision-making.”
In 2011, Orbit leased 9,720 sq ft of office space toAmerican-owned Jacobs Engineering at Park Square – one of southManchester’s largest office buildings. Canadian-owned business TheCash Store also leased 9,000 sq ft of office accommodation atApplicon House in Stockport. Both deals are expected to drawsignificantly on the local labour pool.
Councillor Kevin Hogg, executive member for regeneration atStockport Council, said: “Having a qualified and educatedworkforce has been key to Stockport’s success in attracting newemployers. 55 per cent of Stockport’s working age population isqualified to at least NVQ Level 3, while 35 per cent hold an NVQLevel 4 qualification or equivalent. This is higher than theregional and national average, meaning we have an exceptionallyskilled labour force available to local businesses.
“Continued investment in the borough by Stockport’s existingemployers is also key to its growth as a business hub.”
Chris Cheap, director of GVA, the joint agent acting for ParkSquare, commented: “Stockport is a major contributor to the GreaterManchester economy and, over the next five years, we predict thetown will see stronger than average growth. This underlines theregion’s role as an area for growth outside Manchester city centre.It also demonstrates that Stockport has a dynamic businessbase capable of outperforming the regional and national rate ofgrowth.”
Owen continued: “Stockport is more than capable of holdingits own in the current economic climate. It has an above averagenumber of workers and the third highest level of productivity inGreater Manchester, making it a great place to do business. Thisrecent arrival of major companies is testament to the strength ofthe region. It’s great that the people of Stockport can countthemselves as a reason for that success.”
Source:  Stockport Economic Overview,Stockport Metropolitan Council, August 2011.