Business Birmingham - Shared Service Centres and Business Process Outsourcing in Birmingham

Shared services have revolutionised how businesses manage their operations, and Birmingham offers a unique proposition to investors in this sector. A leading European business destination at the centre of a £94bn regional economy, it has access to a working population of 4.3 million people and provides a wealth of opportunities for companies looking to establish a shared service centre (SSC).

Shared services and business process outsourcing in Birmingham

Companies are increasingly turning to the shared services and business process outsourcing sector to achieve operational efficiencies. Though a number of locations have established themselves as viable bases for such operations, Birmingham has earned itself a reputation for its competitive cost and high-quality business environment.

Birmingham's high-quality office stock, talent pool of 97,000 graduates each year and advantageous location have attracted businesses to the city for the past 20 years.

Skilled workers in the financial and professional services industry

Birmingham and its surrounding areas are home to a significant pool of skilled workers in the financial and professional services industry, ICT and business services industry. Across almost 24,000 businesses there are 241,500 people employed in these key sectors in the Greater Birmingham area. This rises to 441,000 people employed within 57,000 businesses across the West Midlands region.

Shared service centres in the Midlands

Over 40 large corporations and smaller businesses have located their shared service centres to the Midlands, in part due to the high-quality of the region's staff.

McDonald's, the world's largest chain of fast-food restaurants, has a SSC in the region, while two of the UK's largest professional service organisations, PwC and Ernst & Young, have established centres in Birmingham's central business district.

Birmingham and the wider region is also home to a broad range of UK and international SSC's covering finance, accountancy, legal, HR and IT.

Financial shared services

Birmingham has the largest professional and financial service sector outside of London, including:

  • 600 professional and financial service firms in Birmingham currently employing over 100,000 people
  • Within this 100,000 people there are 80,000 people with advanced IT skills, 57,000 have professional qualifications and/or degrees and 30,000 have specialist accounting and other technical skills
  • The sector generates £2.7bn in sales / turnover per annum

Legal and HR opportunities

Birmingham represents a potentially lucrative destination for UK legal firms seeking expansion opportunities, including:

  • Large existing fee base: in excess of £500m in fee income is generated by Birmingham's legal sector
  • Established base from which to expand: 40% of this fee income is derived from clients outside the region
  • Depth of legal talent: 3,500 solicitors and 500 barristers work in Birmingham. A total of 17,000 people are employed in Birmingham's 900+ legal firms and this rises to 19,200 employed in legal firms within the region. Birmingham also has the UK's largest branch of the College of Law with 520 students enrolled
  • Best future growth prospects: employment in professional and financial services in greater Birmingham increased by 37% between 1995 and 2001. This was above regional (29.8%) and national (32.7%) levels and is forecast to grow by another 39% before 2015
  • Connected professional community: Birmingham boasts the largest professional and financial services sector outside of London. It has the two largest sets of barrister's chambers in the country; a local law society; 50 major property firms and one of Europe's largest insurance markets

Birmingham's competitive and high-quality business environment

Geographical location ensures your business remains part of the organisation's global network. Birmingham has air, road and rail connections to provide you with access to 400 million people across Europe. There are 126 direct destinations from Birmingham Airport, including cities in Europe, the US and the Middle East. Over 90% of the UK market (consumer and business) is within a four-hour travel time.

Birmingham is able to offer a competitive cost whilst ensuring a high-quality business environment. Office rental costs in Birmingham city centre range from £15 per square foot for good-quality refurbished space to £28.50 per square foot for prime Grade A space. Prime Grade A rents in Birmingham are almost 50% less than London and compare well against other cities, both today and in the future. Salaries are up to 35% more than London for operations, IT and finance roles.

There is 1.2 million square feet of Grade A office space available for immediate occupation in Birmingham, including a wide choice of building research establishment environmental assessment method (BREEAM) 'excellent' buildings. There is also plenty of room for future growth as Birmingham has a development pipeline of 5.15 million square feet office space.

Contact Details

Marketing Birmingham Ltd
Baskerville House
Centenary Square
Broad St
B1 2 ND
United Kingdom
Contact: Marek Dobrowolski (investment manager)
+44 121 202 5114
[email protected]
Business Birmingham Video Gallery

Available White Papers


Key Sectors for Investment in Greater Birmingham and Solihull 10 August 2012 New research has identified and categorised the sectors of strength and value to the Greater Birmingham and Solihull area.


Fast growth SMEs in Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull 11 July 2012 At a national level, high growth firms make a disproportionate contribution to job creation. Despite current economic challenges, across Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull, a number of dynamic small firms continue to thrive; boosting economic growth and employment across the area.

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