Publishing giant Pearson to leave Belfast city center headquarters

PUBLISHING and education giant Pearson will move from its sprawling headquarters in Belfast city center in favor of flexible workspace.

The former owner of the Financial Times officially opened a financial services center in Belfast in 2017, which he says could eventually lead to the creation of 300 jobs.

The NI Invest-backed project saw the company register for just under 16,000 square feet on the first floor of Millennium House next to the Europa on Great Victoria Street.

But the £ 330,000-a-year offices are now back in the market following a post-pandemic Pearson review that led the publishing giant to officially adopt a hybrid working model.

The group confirmed to The Irish News that it is now looking for “more flexible offices in Belfast”.

Pearson’s move to Belfast in 2016 saw the company initially share offices with business consultancy group EY.

Its workforce hit the 100 mark when it opened the Financial Services Center at Millennium House in May 2017.

Pearson has declined to confirm how many people she currently employs in Northern Ireland, but she continues to recruit here.

A spokesperson said 98 percent of its employees had recently expressed a preference to continue working from home with access to an office only for “key team, social or program reasons.”

In a statement, he said: “The Pearson Financial Services Center in Belfast remains a key strategic asset for us and the value our people in Belfast bring to us is important.

“As announced in March, Pearson has revised its global real estate strategy and footprint in light of changing work practices and we plan to modernize our workplaces, moving to a hybrid working model.

“As such, we are looking for more flexible offices in Belfast. “

Pearson’s empty 15,741 square foot office on the first floor of Millennium House.

Pearson’s decision to move to Belfast was backed by an offer of nearly £ 2million in support from Invest NI and the Department of the Economy.

Invest NI said it has paid Pearson £ 741,706 in financial support to date.

The economic support agency said its support for job creation projects is being offered on the basis that jobs will be created and maintained for “a period of time, providing economic benefits to Ireland’s economy from North”.

“In order to receive grants, a company must have a physical presence in Northern Ireland, as well as a commitment that jobs will be maintained in Northern Ireland,” a spokesperson said.

Meanwhile, much of the ground floor of The Soloist building in Belfast has been converted from retail and catering space into new office space.

Two blocks totaling approximately 13,500 square feet of office space are now on the market next to Waterfront Hall.

It follows the closure of a number of hotel companies on the ground floor of the building.

KPMG, Pinset Masons and Caffe Nero continue to operate in the Lanyon Place building.