London crowned business capital of Europe

London Futures

April 2014

As part of the UK Futures programme, Deloitte has undertaken original research into the location of the global or regional headquarters of the Top 250 companies in Europe and North America, and the levels of high-skill employment in the leading five European and five North American business cities. By these two key measures, London has greater pre-eminence in Europe than New York enjoys in North America.

Key findings

  • London hosts 40 per cent of the European headquarters of the world’s top companies.
  • 60 per cent of top non-European companies with a headquarters in Europe have chosen London as their base.
  • London has greater pre-eminence in Europe than New York has within North America.
  • London is also Europe’s leading centre for high-skill employment.

Executive summary

The analysis shows that of the Top 250 companies (the largest 250 companies in the 2013 rankings of the Fortune Global 500) with global or regional headquarters in Europe, 40 per cent are located in London. London’s nearest rival is Paris, which hosts just eight per cent. By contrast, New York is host to just 25 per cent of North American regional headquarters of the Top 250 companies.

Furthermore London is the chosen centre for 60 per cent of the non-European Top 250 companies that have their regional headquarters in Europe.

“Measured by the locations of business headquarters, London is by far the leading commercial centre and business capital of Europe,” says Angus Knowles-Cutler, London senior partner at Deloitte. “The city is more central to the economy of Europe than New York is to the economy of North America and continues to attract the largest proportion of high-skilled talent.”

A comparison of high-skill employment in the leading five European and five North American cities shows that again London is the leading global centre for talent and high-skills employment. London employs nearly half (47%) of all high-skill workers across Europe’s leading business cities. In contrast, New York employs 31% of the total in the top five North American cities.

London is an extremely attractive city for both businesses and individuals, however, this success creates a number of challenges that need to be understood and managed if London is to retain its unique global position.

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, said: “Successful global cities thrive on their capacity to draw in business, investment, talent and influence from around the world. No city is stronger in this regard than London, which stands today as the fastest growing city in Europe and an unrivalled international hub for business. Long-term planning is essential to maintain and strengthen the city’s position as the greatest city in the world, and to ensure that those with high-level specialist skills continue to make London their home. This fascinating research by Deloitte contributes greatly to this discussion and I welcome the report’s recommendations.”

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