Ranked amongst the wealthiest towns in the UK, Readings close proximity to London and status as a leader in the high-tech sector are strong incentives for business investment here. A powerful force in the UK's IT industry, Reading is also a well-known commercial hub with a strong Finance and Insurance sector. As investment dollars continue to pour into the region, economic analysts expect the local economy to grow by 3.4% until at least 2020, while recruitment agencies expect a steady rise in employment opportunities throughout the region.
As one of the first towns in the UK to make a successful transition from a production-driven economy to a service economy, Reading asserted itself as a technological powerhouse as early as the 1990s, drawing Microsoft, Oracle, HP, and Cisco Systems to establish offices here. In addition to these tech giants, top local employers include the Reading Borough Council (with a staff of 6000), the University of Reading (with 4000 employees), and ING Direct.
The finance and IT sector accounts for 1/3 of employment opportunities in Reading, while the public sector employs 25%. Tourism supports another 7% of workers, and manufacturing supplies a mere 5% of jobs. In 2012, weekly median income was an astounding £594.10, while the national average was £508, and unemployment was a low 3.3%.