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The businesses you need to know about: The UK’s largest employers, mapped

Economic Development employment giant firms GrowthHubs job creation jobs large firms LEPS Local Enterprise Partnerships SME UK

Just over 0.1% of UK businesses represent almost 40% of its employment. If you don't know who some of these businesses are, then you need to - whether growing or declining - their performance is vital to the country.

The latest ONS Business Population estimates show almost 5.5 million businesses in the UK, employing over 26 million people.

Only around 7,200 companies of these companies have over 250 employees or more (classed as large firms), yet they represent almost more than 10 million jobs across the country.

And within this group of large firms, there is another group of even larger firms (we have called them Giant Firms - those with 5000+ employees) that represent a significant proportion of these of these jobs.

Due to the millions of people whose lives are touched by these businesses, Giant Firms are crucial to UK communities and our way of life. If they are growing they present at least stability and potentially great opportunity, for local and national job creation. If they are declining, they present a serious risk to local communities and families that rely on them and the income they provide.

With this in mind, we have chosen to look at them in more detail, identifying 242 UK based and UK owned firms and their 3 year trading history. Our simple analysis looks at one metric in particular - which businesses have grown in registered employees and which have declined looking back 3 years.

Our subsequent map represents three things:

        1. Where each firm is primarily located (their registered office usually also their head office). Each business is represented by a point on the map.
        2. How many people they each actually employ (this is worldwide, but significant numbers are in the UK). This is represented on the map by the size of point – each point is represented proportionally by the number of employees. The larger the point, larger the company.
        3. Company growth - whether these companies have increased or decreased in the number of employees they have registered over the past 3 years. This is represented by colour codes on the map - from over 10% growth (green) through to more than 10% decline (red). You can see full details on the map key.

Each business on the map can be clicked upon to see more detail about its primary activity, its number of registered employees and its 3 year growth rate. 

Encouragingly, there is a lot of green on the map. However many of the largest companies have declined over the past three years. It is certainly worth zooming in to see more detail - particularly in central London and other urban areas. Happy exploring...


View a larger version of Giant Firms in the UK, 2017.

We have not included the names of the businesses on this map, but to access an unlocked version with full company details and to download a list of each of the business including their annual turnover, profit and employment levels as well as their growth rates, you can access our full report here.

To understand more about our methodology please contact us directly.

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