Industry employment grew strongly last year, but growth in the past decade has been more volatile.
One of the central features of our annual ‘Key facts about UK-based financial and related professional services’ report is detail about the financial and related professional services industry’s contribution to UK employment. In 2021—the most recent year for which data are available—industry employment rose by 9% year on year, to 2.45m from 2.25m in 2020. This was the largest increase in the past decade, so it’s useful to look at the trends within that headline change.
The first point to make is that 2021 was a highly unusual year, as the impact of Covid-19 restrictions and their gradual unwinding was still being felt. Strong employment growth in 2021 should be seen in the context of a 4% decline in financial and related professional services employment the previous year.
The second point is that growth was highly variable across the industry sub-sectors. Financial services employment growth was 7% (with increases in insurance, fund management, and other financial services employment offsetting a decline in banking employment). Related professional services employment increased by 11% (with strong growth across all three sectors, but in legal services employment in particular).
Following on from this analysis of growth in financial services employment versus related professional services employment, this chart shows how employment in related professional services has become relatively more important within financial and related professional services overall. In 2009, accounting, legal, and management consulting employment together accounted for just under half of total financial and related professional services employment, but in 2021 it accounted for just over half. You can see the precise employment levels for each year by hovering over the chart.