Job creation in Yorkshire’s financial sector ‘the highest in England’

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The number of people employed in Yorkshire’s financial services sector has grown at one of the highest rates in the country, with 24,000 additional jobs having been created in the sector, according to the latest figures.

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Employment in Yorkshire and Humber grew by 17.8 per cent between 2016 and 2017, said industry body TheCityUK and contrasts with a real term decline in job numbers in London and the South East in the same period.

Financial services now accounts for 6.5 per cent of the region’s employment – some 159.000 people –and represents a GVA of £9bn. The city of Leeds remains the region’s largest financial centre, employing around one quarter of its workforce and some 40,910 people.

Meanwhile, Sheffield and Bradford together account for a further 20 per cent of total jobs with more than 30,000 people working in financial centres between them.

Chris Hearld, of KPMG. Picture Tony Johnson.

Chris Hearld, of KPMG. Picture Tony Johnson.

Elsewhere, the North West saw a decline in employment in the sector of 8.4 per cent during the period while London’s figures showed a 1.3 per cent reduction.

Only Wales posted a higher rate of job creation than Yorkshire, with circa 50,000 working in the sector in that region.

The West Midlands and Northern Ireland also posted steep increases.

TheCityUK attributed the rise to the plethora of multinational companies located in Yorkshire and the region’s status as a major centre for mortgage, corporate and retail finance activities.

Almost 2.3 million people work in financial and related professional services across the UK, with around two thirds of those employed in the industry working outside London.

Miles Celic, inset, chief executive at TheCityUK, said the financial sector was vital for job creation and driving economic output to all parts of the UK, as well as contributing billions in tax revenue.

He said: “London is central to the UK’s strong position, but it is clear that the many thriving regional and national centres are an essential part of its success – Yorkshire and the Humber a particular case in point.

“But, this should not be taken for granted.

“Ensuring the industry’s future as a national asset will require a concerted effort. This includes more regionally focused policies and initiatives, greater focus on developing specialist centres and sectors, a more competitive business environment and enhanced engagement between government and industry.”

In its report, TheCityUK outlines 15 policy recommendations to help bolster the industry’s future success right across the country.

These focus on continued collaboration between industry, regulators, and policy makers to ensure that the business environment continues to support industry and UK competitiveness.

TheCityUK’s chair for Leeds, Chris Hearld, praised the figures but said more work was needed to be done to bolster the sector’s fortunes in Yorkshire, specifically around devolution.

Mr Hearld, KPMG’s head of regions and Leeds office senior partner, said: “While Sheffield City Region elected its first metro mayor in May 2018, the rest of Yorkshire and the Humber is without a devolution deal. We need to continue our work with policymakers in Westminster and the region to encourage and support a devolution deal that will open up the region to new opportunities for investment.”