Cosmopolitan Newcastle: attracting international talent

Newcastle has found itself in the headlines a few times in the last year. Sometimes it's billed as "the poster child for the new north", sometimes as "Britain's Detroit", even once as "the problem child; a sick region". Always by people who live and work elsewhere. Fergus Trim, of the Quorum Business Park, sees a wholly different side to the city from his perspective, and he writes exclusively for BQ about where Newcastle is, and where it needs to be.

There has been a feeling for some time that Newcastle is becoming a more cosmopolitan City. Not just in the student, leisure and creative fields, but also in the wider business world.

A survey undertaken at Quorum Business Park in North Newcastle shows just how diverse the workforce has become. This has been a significant factor as an increasing number of international companies have created new jobs in the North East.

The Newcastle City Region has a reputation for attracting talent from across the globe. The world renowned Universities have long attracted students from overseas, with Newcastle University currently home to over 4,000 international students. Recent research has also shown that Newcastle’s universities are among the most successful at retaining graduates to enter the local workforce.

The Quorum survey backs this up, and is fresh evidence that many of these overseas students are choosing to stay in Newcastle and enter the growing local jobs market. The survey identified staff originally from over 65 countries currently working at the north Newcastle Business Park from China to Columbia to Cameroon. These staff between them speak over 30 different languages.

Many of the 16 businesses based on the park work in international markets, and rely on being able to attract staff with a variety of language skills.

A good example is Ebiquity, the media analytics and brand performance specialist. They monitor publications and brands across the globe for a range of International organisations. Ebiquity moved to Quorum in 2010, ‘North shoring’ a function from London. Newcastle is now their largest centre with 250 employees.

I spoke with Lisa Scott of Ebiquity who told me: “The wealth of international talent available within Newcastle has proved invaluable to Ebiquity. The universities in the Newcastle area attract talent from across the globe, and the quality of life and affordable living standards in Newcastle keep them here, meaning Ebiquity as the pick of the crop in language skills and graduate roles.”

Convergys is another major Quorum occupier, working on large international contracts from its base at Quorum. Andrea Valentine from the US headquartered business said: “Convergys serves companies across the globe and as such, require a diverse selection of spoken languages. We are always seeking talented, multilingual candidates who are looking to put their language skills to good use and advance in their careers.

“Since working at Quorum we have found a wealth of language talent on our doorstop, expanding the number of countries we can serve and ensuring our customer service levels are exceptional.”  

The North East is raising its profile as an inward investment destination. Many of these companies work internationally and need a diverse and skilled workforce. The availability of a diverse workforce and the associated language skills is an integral part of this offer.

We’ve known for some time that the businesses at Quorum have been successful in attracting the language skills they need, and this survey illustrates it perfectly. The world class talent available in the North East is a major factor in our continuing success in landing these investment projects and the jobs that they bring.