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Why Reading rivals London

On02/ 08 /17

Reading is firmly establishing itself as a rival to London, thanks to growing job opportunities, cheaper house prices and a superb transport network.

Once viewed purely as a commuter hub, providing easy access to the capital, the town has become a business hub in its own right. Reading is also recognised for its high standard of living, with great schools, leisure opportunities and more.

We take a look at what it’s like to live and work in Reading.

A Leader in Tech

In recent years, job opportunities in Reading have continued to increase thanks to strong growth, particularly in the tech sector.

KPMG's Tech Monitor identified Reading as the number one tech centre in the country, with almost one in five enterprises classed as tech companies and the proportion of tech businesses in Reading rated three times the national average.

Job vacancies figures are also positive, with Reading coming third in the UK’s top towns and cities for recruitment, determined by the ratio of active job openings to population.

Housing and Schools

Whilst house prices have risen in value over the last year, houses in the area are still some of the most affordable within an hour of London, with an average price of £302,525 (Land Registry March 2017).

The area is also known for its excellent schools, including Reading School and the Kendrick School, achieving Ofsted’s highest ‘outstanding’ rating.

Reading University is one of the UK’s top research universities and is ranked in the top 200 universities worldwide. The University is attended by over 17,000 students from over 150 countries and has invested over £400 million into its teaching, student accommodation and research facilities.

The countdown to Crossrail is now on

Reading is a commuter haven thanks to its position just 40 miles from central London. Direct trains take just 25 minutes into London Paddington. 

The arrival of Crossrail is now just 2 years away. The high-speed service is set to further improve transport links, with journey times of 55 minutes from Reading to Tottenham Court Road and just 38 minutes to Heathrow airport.

Sports and Leisure

Reading offers a great variety of sports and leisure facilities, including the Rivermead Leisure Complex and SportsPark at the University of Reading. It also has a variety of green spaces for relaxing, such as Forbury Gardens, Thames Valley Park and Prospect Park.

The Madeiski Stadium is home to both Reading FC and London Irish, with a variety of fixtures throughout the season. Plans have recently been approved for a new development on land adjoining the Stadium, which is to include 618 homes, a convention centre, an ice rink and a hotel.

Reading FC chief executive Nigel Howe said: “This is a huge boost for Reading and will deliver a step-change in the city’s ability to host international, large-scale conferences and events, which the business community here has long sought.”

Reading’s shopping rivals many London destinations, with its extensive high street and the Oracle shopping centre, housing over 80 shops and an 11-screen cinema. 

Topping the surveys

The 2016 Good Growth for Cities Index rated Reading, the second best place to live in the UK, judged on income, health and employment. 

Reading also scored highly in a 2016 study carried out by Glassdoor, ranking 5th in the UK for job satisfaction.

Glassdoor spokesman, Mark Di-Toro said: "Reading has been filled with some of the hottest businesses around for a while now. The area has become a hotspot for large multinational firms due to its closeness to London and relative cheapness of its rents.”

Dr Andrew Chamberlain, Glassdoor’s chief economist, commented: "Towns and cities such as Nottingham, Leeds and Reading offer decent salaries and job prospects combined with a lower cost of living which means your money will go further, you can save, and still have a good quality of life."

If you want to find out more about living and working in Reading, why not browse our Reading jobs page or get in touch to discuss your career plans?
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