Cities across UK host vital financial and related professional services hubs

A new report out today from TheCityUK underlines the important role UK-based financial and related professional services play in underpinning prosperity in Britain’s nations and regions. Of the 2.2 million people working in the industry, the majority (1.5 million, or around two-thirds) work outside London, together representing around 7% of the working population, yet contributing nearly 11% (£176bn) of total Gross Value Added (GVA) in 2015.

The report – ‘Enabling Growth across the UK’ – shows that while London remains core to the industry’s strong position, major centres with more than 30,000 people employed in financial and related professional services include Birmingham, Bristol, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds and Manchester. Overall, 21 towns and cities across the country have in excess of 10,000 people in employment in the industry and since 2010, 200,000 additional industry jobs have been created right across the country.

It also highlights where the regions and nations may benefit from shifting trends in globalisation, particularly in relation to reverse-offshoring. As cost-differentials between the UK and other lower-cost overseas centres narrow, there is an opportunity to retain or ‘win’ back middle and back office functions. Digitalisation also presents a great opportunity for the industry in centres across the country, bringing new high-skilled jobs. Such jobs have already added £140 billion in value to the economy in new wages over the past 15 years.

Miles Celic, Chief Executive of TheCityUK, said:

Our report reinforces the value delivered by financial and related services to the whole of the UK economy. Firms from across the world come to Britain to do business, many first putting down roots in London and then expanding their operations across the country, creating a deeper talent pool of skilled workers that benefits local and national businesses. In turn, strong regional financial centres like Edinburgh, Manchester and Birmingham, boost the attractiveness of London as a global financial centre. Maintaining this ecosystem is critical to ensuring the UK remains a world-leading place to do business.

TheCityUK’s report identifies four key areas for policymakers and other key stakeholders to focus on, working in close partnership with the industry, to maintain the industry’s international competitiveness:

  • Rollout intra-and inter-regional partnerships, linking complementary regional clusters and promoting engagement through partnerships and by unlocking investment in infrastructure.
  • Identifying and supporting emerging and disruptive innovation and growing specialist industry clusters across the UK in these skills areas.
  • Enhancing the UK’s education system and ensuring specialist companies have access to complementary skill sets.
  • A stable and predictable business environment, including the adoption of a clear and consistent approach to devolution, to ensure the UK remains open for business from across the world.