London is a magnet of foreign businesses
London is the most powerful city on the planet, according to Global Power City Index 2015 report, developed by the Mori Memorial Foundation’s Institute for Urban Strategies. London’s extended lead puts the city well ahead of New York, Paris, Tokyo, Singapore and a whole host of other major city hubs.
The capital is one of the best cities for business, research and development and cultural interaction in the world, and is justifiably famous for its financial stability and economic well-being. The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “With a thriving economy, an unrivalled cultural scene, numerous top sporting venues, some of the best universities in the world, a low crime rate and much else besides, it is no wonder that London continues to outstrip other cities across the world. As London grows to record levels we are working hard to build the new homes and deliver the infrastructure that will ensure we remain a global powerhouse for decades to come”.
Businesses are booming
More and more foreign firms are making London their base, including the technology giants of Facebook and Google. Their success gains attention and more and more companies are following the trend. According to recent figures from Deloitte1, two in five of the 250 largest companies in the world have their headquarters in London; surging ahead of their nearest rival, Paris, which hosts just 8% of the European headquarters.
London is also home of to 90,000 science and technology businesses and over 700,000 employees with a combined turnover of £153bn2. According to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, the science and technology sector is gradually becoming ever more successful, helping to power the capital and UK’s economy for many decades to come.
£459m worth of venture capital was invested into the city’s digital sector in the first quarter of 2015 alone – a gargantuan rise of 66% based on the same quarter of the previous year.
The results may seem surprising for a city that is only just perched on the edge of Western Europe, separated from the main continent by the English Channel and the North Sea. You would assume that Paris or Berlin, which are more central to the main trading block of Europe would offer a much better home to these businesses. It appears, however, that London actually has much more to offer than at first glance.
Firstly, the time zone and English language make communication, working and trading between the giants of the US and the Far East easier. Accessibility is another reason why London attracts more businesses than any other city. Despite its location away from the main land mass of the continent, London remains the most accessible city in Europe as it gives access to more than 8 million Londoners and 500 million people3 in Europe.
London is a city which has clearly delivered its welcome message to all people around the world – this makes investors more confident in engaging and funding all level of projects. The continual finance influx drives London to become the definite principal gateway in Europe for many business sectors. With 5 major airports, the majority of prime European cities are only a few hours away and direct routes to chief American technology hubs of New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco take less than 11 hours. Without doubt, London has the best transit routes to and from the rest of the world.
Moreover, London has good public transport systems, including bus and underground-train networks which make travelling around the city fast and easy. Do not forget the Eurostar, the high-speed train operating between London, Paris and Brussels, providing links to the wider continent’s high-speed networks. England may be surrounded by water, but it has never been so accessible. You can get to London from anywhere in the world, either by plane, train or boat.
A city that showcases Global Talent
Innovations in technology and economy would not happen without the driving force of the people behind it – and London can offer some of the best talents in the world. “London-based business can benefit from access to an unparalleled talent pool”, says the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson. “[London] continues to be a leading source of jobs and growth for the London economy”, he adds.
As Matt Brittin, Google’s EMEA Chief, argues: “With access to talent, access to markets, access to capital, there isn’t a better place in Europe. That’s the opportunity for start-ups right now: to think about a marketplace of 5 billion people and to use London as a springboard to reach those markets”
London Technology Week, which took place earlier this year, is a prime example of the global talent on offer. The event is a great showcase of what is happening in London and attracts a global audience of around 43,000 people. As stated by Derek White, Chief Design and Digital Officer of Barclays, the event is a “great way of shining light on the amazing talent that resides in the capital”.
London can indeed offer one of Europe’s most talented and diverse workforces. The figures speak for themselves:
- Over 230 languages are spoken in the city, throwing the doors open to companies far and wide
- 10% of the city’s workforce is specialists within the creative and technology sectors
- London is home to four of the world’s top 40 universities
- 60% of the city’s working population holds a degree
A vibrant, desirable city to live
“I can’t think of anybody I’ve met in the world who wouldn’t love the opportunity to spend time in London”, says Richard Branson, Virgin’s CEO.
Not only does London have the ability to produce great talent from within, it also attracts – and most importantly of all – is able to retain global talent from around the globe. London is the world’s number one preferred destination for workers wishing to relocate or those considering working abroad. Boston Consulting Groups Decoding Talent Survey 2014 revealed that London beat every other city as the preferred work destination with almost one in six foreign workers saying that they would be happy to relocate to the UK.
Onedotzero’s CEO and creative director supports the view that “[London] is an amazingly vibrant place, it’s full of great talent and it continually attracts great talent from all over the world. It really is an engine for innovation and for culture”.
Aside from the amazing employment and education opportunities that London has to offer, the city’s history and heritage, unrivalled culture scene as well as the beautiful green spaces contribute to making it an extremely desirable place to live, particularly for young professionals looking for that unique lifestyle that they would not find anywhere else in the world.
In a fast-paced digital world, the rush of London life appears to reflect this well, but it also allows for great opportunities to unwind at the end of a hard-working week. From a variety of eclectic museums to the famous west-end theatres and world-class sporting venues, Londoners are spoilt for choice in their leisure time activities. Even the London food and drink scene reflects the global reach of the capital, with over 8000 restaurants offering cuisine from 70 different countries.
London certainly ticks a lot of boxes – with businesses able to draw on a wealth of knowledge and skills from the pool of digital talent on display, as well as experiencing a world-class infrastructure, which allows businesses to flourish. The vibrant and exciting lifestyle that London is renowned for is just the icing on the cake.