by Dr Laura Davison, Head of Research
This week saw the latest annual release of the Business Register and Employment Survey (BRES) figures, which give a detailed breakdown of the workforce for an area by sector - allowing us to look at where employment has grown or shrunk. This data is published with a year’s lag - so the figures published are for 2015 - but we use it as the basis for our official reporting, because it’s the most extensive survey of UK VAT and PAYE registered businesses, and informs the Government’s Inter-Departmental Business Register.
Looking at the new figures for 2015, a couple of statistics immediately jump out. The City of London has seen very strong jobs growth across 12 months, going from 414K (2014) to 455K (2015) – a 10% increase, with 41K new jobs created.
City employment has traditionally been concentrated in the four biggest sectors – finance and insurance; professional; business administration; and information and communication. This year’s data is no exception, with these four areas together accounting for 83% of City jobs – and 85% of the new jobs created.
As the following chart shows, with the exception of 2013, every year since 2010 has seen an increase in City jobs, with this latest period being the most substantial growth yet.
The strongest growth was seen in ‘business administration and support services’, which saw over 18K new jobs and grew by 47%. While this is a wide ranging category - spanning travel agencies and security services, through to landscaping and window cleaning - for the City, almost all this growth was in temporary employment agencies (14.5K). Professional services had the second highest number of new jobs - 11K - largely accounted for by new jobs in business and management consultancy (6K) and head offices (3K). Both financial services (2.5K) and information and communication (2.5K) saw jobs growth - the latter particularly notable, as the tech sector has flourished in the City in recent years, rising from 24K in 2010 to 37K in 2015 - a 55% increase.
More broadly, London also saw jobs growth across this period - 180K new jobs created, with growth of 3.7% bringing London’s total jobs to 5.04 million. The City of London is the largest component of these new jobs (41K), followed by Westminster (22.5K), Hounslow (22K), and Tower Hamlets (17K). Six London boroughs saw negative growth, with Hillingdon reporting by far the largest drop (-21K).
As with the City, business support services (56K) and professional and technical (52.5K) have primarily driven this growth, alongside sectors such as property (22K), health (17K), and those linked to leisure – such as retail (17.5K) and accommodation. Sectors seeing notable falls in jobs were construction (-6K), wholesale (-4K), and public administration (-4K).
The data also reinforces London’s position as a driver of jobs and growth in the UK economy, which saw overall growth of 576K jobs (2%) across England, Scotland and Wales. London accounted for 31% of these new jobs, followed by the South East (21%) – and 17% of the workforce.
These figures demonstrate that the City of London underpins London’s jobs growth – illustrating its role as a key contributor to the capital’s economy, and its continuing importance to the UK.