Press releases

London is the soft power and high skills capital of the world, finds Deloitte research

2 March 2016

  • London has the most internationally diverse executive community in the world, attracting business leaders from 95 nationalities and with alumni working in 134 countries;
  • All cities perform poorly on gender diversity - just 10.5% of London’s senior executives are women; 
  • 235,000 high-skill jobs created since 2013 as London extends its lead as the home of high-skilled workers over New York, where such roles declined;
  • Automation risks ‘hollowing out’ London’s lower paid jobs.

London is the soft power capital of the world, according to analysis by Deloitte of the educational and employment connections held by 50,000 business and public sector executives in seven global cities. The city’s ability to attract and develop leaders means that its executive alumni are more internationally diverse than those of New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Singapore, Tokyo and Sydney.

London’s executive alumni work in 134 countries and are represented by 95 nationalities. The alumni of New York and Paris work in 120 and 108 countries respectively and are drawn from 87 and 71 nationalities. Sydney has the least internationally diverse executive alumni, with its leaders coming from 19 countries and now working in 57.

No city in the Deloitte report performs well in terms of the representation of female executives. The proportion of each city's executive alumni who are female ranges from 12.3% in Sydney to 2.2% in Tokyo.

Angus Knowles-Cutler, London office senior partner at Deloitte, said: “London is a global city, arguably the world’s foremost business hub. Part of its power lies in its ability to influence the preference of others by appealing to, attracting and developing leaders. Many of these people were educated or have worked in or around London, attracted by the strength of the city’s diverse businesses, the quality of its universities and the vitality of its creative and digital scene. This flow of skills and leadership talent, and the connections and networks they form is the true lifeblood of a global city.”

David Sproul, chief executive and senior partner of Deloitte, added: “London’s executive alumni are the most diverse in the world which is important because diversity drives economic prosperity in the world’s global cities. However, whilst all cities in our research have been successful in attracting executives from overseas, none has fully addressed the imbalance in gender diversity. All of the top global cities must step up efforts to promote greater diversity, specifically in relation to gender, to fill the growing high-skills gap and inspire the next generation of leaders.”

Deloitte has also updated its 2013 research which charted the number of high-skilled workers in each of these seven global cities. In the past three years, the number of high-skilled employees in London has increased by 16% from 1.47m to 1.7m. This equates to an additional 235,000 high-skilled jobs created in London in the past three years. Paris, Sydney, Hong Kong and Singapore combined added 78,000 high-skilled jobs whilst New York lost around 5,000. In 2013, London employed approximately 300,000 more high-skilled workers than its nearest rival, New York. That gap now stands close to 550,000.

The increase in the number of high-skilled jobs in London has been driven by dramatic growth in technology and media roles (up by 54%) and also by strong growth in management, scientific and technical consulting services. London’s economy has further rebalanced, with the city now employing the largest number of high-skilled workers in 11 of 22 knowledge based sectors, down from 12 in the 2013 report. New York has overtaken London as the city with largest number of high-skilled financial services jobs.

Sproul added: “With a continuing skills crunch, global cities will depend increasingly on cross-border flows to sustain growth and employment in the future global economy. Whatever the outcome of this June’s referendum, policymakers must be alive to protecting the UK’s ability to attract the high-skilled, highly-networked leaders our businesses need.”

Knowles-Cutler concluded: “Long seen as neck-and-neck with New York, recent developments suggest that by some key measures London might now be in a class of its own. However, the city’s remarkable success could also foreshadow some real problems. Pressure on housing and infrastructure are already evident and we need to ensure that all Londoners benefit from the city’s unique position. A fear has to be that lower paid London jobs are squeezed out, not least by rapid advances in technology and automation.”

End

Notes to editors

About Deloitte
In this press release references to Deloitte are references to Deloitte LLP, which is among the country's leading professional services firms.

Deloitte LLP is the United Kingdom member firm of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited (“DTTL”), a UK private company limited by guarantee, whose member firms are legally separate and independent entities. Please see www.deloitte.co.uk/about for a detailed description of the legal structure of DTTL and its member firms.

The information contained in this press release is correct at the time of going to press.

Member of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited.

James Igoe
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7303 8247
+44 (0) 79 7178 3533
jigoe@deloitte.co.uk

Mark Smith
Deloitte LLP
+44 (0) 20 7007 7082
+44 (0) 75 9004 1301
marksmith@deloitte.co.uk

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