Cutting edge roles and research boom in small to mid-box facilities

The second year of our market leading research, BIG Things in SMALL Boxes, produced jointly with Savills, demonstrated the diversity of businesses that call the small to mid-box (sub-100k sq. ft.) warehousing sector home. It also showed the range of job roles available in this thriving part of the industrial and logistics (I&L) sector is wider than ever before blowing away preconceptions of warehouses as solely offering ‘pick and pack’ roles. 

A home for diverse businesses 

Our research shows that the mix of businesses that take up space in small to mid-box units is increasing in diversity, demonstrating the growing strength and variety within the sector. Whilst transportation and warehousing (35%) and manufacturing (21%) still retain the largest share of the market, headway is being made in areas such as professional, scientific and technical services, as well as retail, agricultural businesses and information technology. 

Large, national ‘Blue Chip’ companies are still the most active occupiers in the sector, however we are now seeing companies you wouldn’t typically associate with I&L estates, such as electric aircraft manufacturers and drone designers and manufacturers. 

This diversity in the types of businesses moving into the sector is more prevalent in the small to mid-box market, than the big box.  

As you can see from graph below, the diversity in the types of businesses moving into the sector is more varied in the small to mid-box market, than the big box. This is another factor in the continued theme of demand outstripping supply which creates a barrier for growth for business wanting to expand into these small to mid-box units. 

A hotbed of advanced skills 

It’s not just the types of businesses that are diversifying across the small to mid-box market. Our research showed that roles are changing rapidly too. There has been a 17 per cent increase in higher skilled roles, with professional occupations increasing by 36 per cent. Conversely, we have seen skilled trades and machine operative roles reduce in the overall mix of skills. 

Not only this, but office space has accounted for 16 per cent of all floor space in newly built I&L premises from 2020, showing that the roles on offer within the sector will continue to develop as businesses seek to bring a range of operations together under one roof. 

Jason Rockett Managing Director at Potter Space said: “The sub 100k sq.ftIndustrial and Logistics property sector the hugely important backbone of the UK economy. Around 95% of the I&L property market operates out of small to mid-box units employing in the region of 2.1 million people and delivering £124 billion GVA to the UK economy  

We’re seeing this increasing diversity of business sectors and skills choosing Potter Space as their home for business. These are just some of the reasons why change is needed to protect, plan and grow this important property sector and unlock the suppressed demand to provide a well needed boost to the UK economy.” 

A future-facing industry 

Small to mid-box spaces are agile and adaptable – perfect for a range of businesses to call home. From international companies to cutting-edge start-ups, the possibilities in these spaces are endlessWe’re looking forward to supporting more businesses to achieve their goals through our strategy of investment and development across our five nationwide parks.  

To find out more about the mixture of businesses that call the small to mid-box sector home and plenty of other industry insights, read our market leading report.  

Browse our To Let page to discover if one of our new buildings could be your perfect home for business. 


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