Posted on: 1st November 2022
Reading time: 9 mins
Scotland’s biggest city, Glasgow is a thriving centre of culture and business. Once an industrial port city, the economy has diversified to become a place where traditional industries sit alongside creative, cultural, financial and technology businesses. The population is over 635,000, but with the wider metropolitan area, it is home to 1.84 million people. In 2019, the city generated a GDP of £47.3 billion - that’s 32% of all Scottish GDP. The city is a hotspot for start-ups, with 19% of the high-growth start-ups in Scotland.
Commuting into the city certainly is easy thanks to the extensive transport network, such as the Subway (lovingly named the Clockwork Orange by locals thanks to its single, circular line), which is the fourth-oldest underground system in Europe.
It's also a busy student city, home to some of the world’s best universities, chief among them the University of Glasgow, which is the fourth-oldest university in the English-speaking world. The Centre for Cities found that it is the UK city with the highest graduate retention - that is, students who choose to stay in the city to build a career after their studies. Nearly half of all students (46%) remain in place after graduating, giving you access to a wide talent pool across sectors, should you be looking to expand your business with fresh new talent. Here's a rough guide to the business and cultural benefits the city provides.
There are nearly 90,000 businesses in the city, and 3,742 of these were registered between January and June 2022 alone, making it a centre for entrepreneurship. There are companies based all across the ‘Dear Green Place’, but here are some of the top areas with offices to rent in Glasgow.
Glasgow city centre is built on a grid system, making it incredibly easy to get around. It’s home to the Central Business District, and is home to most of the city’s cultural attractions such as the Royal Concert Hall and Gallery of Modern Art, as well as the main shopping area, which is widely considered to be one of the best in the UK outside of London. A range of industries have made the city centre their home, including creative and arts, life sciences, digital technology and engineering, as well as advanced manufacturing. It’s also the location of the Glasgow City Innovation District, a hub for entrepreneurship, innovation, and collaboration.
The International Financial Services District (IFSD) is bounded by the River Clyde to the south, the M8 motorway to the west, Sauchiehall Street to the north and Hope Street to the east. It encompasses parts of Anderston, part of Charing Cross, and most of Blythswood Hill. The Clyde-side area of the city was previously neglected, but was regenerated by Scottish Enterprise and the City Council to create a dynamic, financial-focused area where an increasing number of firms have taken offices since 2001. Multiple global institutions have bases here including Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan Chase, Barclays and Direct Line.
On the banks of the River Clyde, in the south side of the city, Pacific Quay is home to Glasgow’s creative and media industries. BBC Scotland and STV both have their headquarters here, alongside the headquarters of the Daily Record, Scotland’s biggest-selling newspaper, at nearby Central Quay.
The beautiful West End is a leafy green area, and home to the university. It is, then, a natural fit for education and innovation businesses, but is just as popular with those in the creative and cultural centres.
Located less than 12 miles from the city centre, Paisley is a great alternative to the busy centre. Paisley is the home of Glasgow International Airport, making transport across the UK and beyond easy, and it’s also the location of the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District Scotland (AMIDS). Several globally renowned names in the field are already based here, including Thermo Fisher Scientific and Peak Scientific.
Scotland’s largest city is easy to get around, thanks to its extensive travel network. The Subway couldn’t be simpler to use, thanks to its single circuit, and it’s a quick way to reach most of the city. There are trains every four minutes in both directions at peak times, and it takes just 24 minutes to complete a full circuit - so it’s no problem if you accidentally jump on a train going the wrong direction.
There are two main train stations in the city: Central and Queen Street. It takes less than an hour to reach Edinburgh by train, and there are frequent direct trains to London, with a journey time of between five and six hours.
There's also a good network of local trains to take you to the suburbs and beyond, as well as a reliable bus network. Glasgow Airport, in Paisley, mainly serves destinations around the UK and Europe, making it quick and easy to travel for business meetings with clients and investors.
There's a year-round programme of live music, arts and theatre, including several international festivals. The city has several acclaimed venues, including the OVO Hydro, SEC Armadillo, Barrowland Ballroom and the Citizens Theatre. And, of course, it’s just an hour away from Edinburgh, host every August to the world’s biggest arts festival.
The city is also home to a diverse range of restaurants and cafes, serving up cuisine from all around the world. The west end is a great choice if you’re looking for a business lunch location, especially Finnieston, one of the city’s up-and-coming areas, with a fantastic selection of bars and restaurants - ideal for after-dinner drinks with clients and colleagues. For something closer to the shopping area, Merchant City is also a good choice for high-end meals, sure to impress any clients.
Office space to rent is more affordable here than in many similar areas of the UK, such as London and Edinburgh. That makes it a great option if you’re looking to establish a base in a prestigious business location, while keeping costs down.
Prices for a serviced office start from £119 per person per month, or if you would prefer a coworking space in Glasgow, you can rent out a desk for less than £100 per person per month and work alongside like-minded professionals in a space designed to encourage communication and collaboration.
There are plenty of great office spaces in Glasgow - so how do you choose the right one for your business? Here are the key things to take into consideration when looking for your perfect Glasgow office space.
Is it important to you that you’re surrounded by similar businesses? Do you want to be in the city centre, close to the shopping, eating and culture hubs? Or do you need to be close to a train station, bus links or the airport? The centre of town is fairly compact but the suburbs are quite sprawling, so think about how close you want to be to the action when choosing a workspace.
When you choose a serviced office, you’ll have everything you need included in your monthly fee. That’s particularly important if you have a hybrid workforce, as you need high-speed internet for easy communication from the day you move into your new office space. So when scouting for an office building, consider whether it provides all your requirements, such as hybrid working, coworking spaces and private offices within the building.
If you’re a start-up, it’s tempting to go for a smaller office space that accommodates the team you have right now. But if you have plans to expand in the future, it might be worth opting for a bigger space that has room to grow. Think about your business goals when looking at office spaces, and choose one that works for you both now and in the future, which might mean hybrid working; working from company HQ, flexspace near home and from home.
Curious to find out more about the city before choosing your office space? Here are five things you probably didn’t know about the city…
Home to a diverse range of industries - and more businesses than anywhere else in Scotland - this is a great base for any company. You’ll have access to a big talent pool, thanks to the high number of graduates from the city’s three universities who continue to stay in the city after graduation, and an active community of business owners from both established global companies and fresh new start-ups. From finance to fashion, whatever you work in, you’ll be right at home with an office space in Glasgow.
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