UK Corporate Occupier Survey

Real Estate and Asset Management

September 2016

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Welcome to the first UK Corporate Occupier Survey report, produced by RICS in association with EY and Savills.

The report surveyed 150 real estate decision makers at large companies to:

  • measure the relative impact of real estate on recruitment and retention of staff
  • generate a picture of planned changes in property occupancy in the UK regions
  • understand business priorities when making property decisions
  • provide an indication of businesses’ outsourcing plans.

Business demand for property is expected to grow although regional variations are large

41% of real estate decision-makers expect the amount of property their business owns or rents in the UK to increase, a net change at +33%. However, there are large variations in net change by region, with the biggest change in the South East, at +13%, and the smallest in the South West, at +4%. London is at +7%. This suggests a wide variation in how businesses view prospects in different regions, and that property increases in the South East may not be focussed on London.

It is clear that business premises are seen as affecting recruitment and staff retention

Although pay and benefits, and company culture and reputation, are rated most important for recruitment and retention, factors related to a company’s office building itself are also seen as important by a sizeable proportion of our survey participants. The property factors rated as most important are proximity to transport links, and the quality of the premises and facilities.

Interestingly, although only a third site the quality of the premises and facilities as important, half say that size and quality is important when looking for new premises. Understanding the impact of the link between quality of premises and successful recruitment and retention could help demonstrate the value of quality property to businesses.

Real estate decision-makers expect the amount of outsourcing in the sector to increase

With one in ten saying they expect their business to outsource more in the next three years, it appears that the market for outsourced services will grow amongst businesses with 250+ employees. The key things businesses say they will look for in an outsourcing company are cost, and service capability and expertise. Outsourcing companies may benefit from exploring what ‘service capability’ means to organisations looking to expand, and identifying the qualities that can differentiate their services on more than just cost.

AT EY we are committed to asking better questions and helping our clients find the right answers. This survey starts to answer some tough questions facing the real estate and FM industries. Will property occupancy be affected by Brexit? Will demand for commercial property in London and the South East be at the expense of other regions? Should companies invest in real estate rather than remuneration to attract staff?

This survey provides the commercial property and facilities management industries with a degree of reassurance that property occupation by UK corporates is expected to grow and the trend in outsourcing set to continue. EY will continue to help corporate occupiers improve workplace performance, and the real estate industry to meet the changing demand.

Guy Brett
Director, Real Estate Performance Improvement