'Confidence is returning to the UK relocation industry with one in four firms likely to move within five years and the main reason cited is business expansion,' the report says.
The survey was commissioned to find the likelihood of companies relocating in the next five years, with over 500 leading executives in 48 cities being questioned.
The report shows that as many as 27% of executives say that their company is either very likely or quite likely to relocate within the next five years. Just over a quarter of executives cited business expansion as the main reason, while a further 18% stated that they had no room left on the current site.
Executives were offered a list of eight business factors to rank in order of importance when choosing a business location. Almost half cited quality of workforce as being the single most important factor when making a business location decision.
Almost a fifth of the respondents chose transport networks as the second most important factor. Overheads and the overall business environment were also highlighted as being important. Quality of life was cited as the least important factor when making a business location decision.
The respondents were then asked to name two cites from the list of 48 that were rated best for each of these factors.
Finally, respondents were asked to name which of the locations they would desire to move to if they were given a 'free choice', not necessarily taking business factors into consideration.
John Carolan, managing director of Black Horse Relocation, said:
'These results clearly show that great importance is placed on quality of workforce and a city's infrastructure. The results also illustrate that cities appear attractive for different reasons. However, if UK cities are to thrive and compete against each other, greater emphasis must be placed on people and transport.'
The full results are:
Top 10 business locations (in ascending order): Birmingham, London, Manchester, Newcastle Upon Tyne, Leeds, Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Bristol, Cardiff.
Most desirable UK cities: Bristol and Oxford (14% of respondents), Cambridge and Birmingham (13%), Edinburgh (12%).
Importance of relocation factors: quality of workforce (mean rank 5.7, 42% respondents say most important), transport network (5.3, 18%), overhead cost (4.8, 11%), overall business environment (4.5, 11%), quality of potential local clients (4.4, 6%), cost and availability of business/property (4.2, 6%), government incentives (3.5, 2%), quality of personal life (3.2, 1%).
Meanwhile, Barnsley was voted the least desirable spot for business relocation. This comes just a month after a Guinness publishing group report named it the worst place to live in Britain, the Yorkshire Post reports (p8).
Barnsley MBC's head of economic development Phil Asquith said:
'I find it difficult to understand why Barnsley is not higher in the league table because the package we offer industrialists is one of the best in the country.'
Mr Asquith said that a new enterprise zone to be in place by the end of the year will 'demonstrate that this league table is speculative and will prove (it) to be less than accurate'.