Report shows importance of professional and business services sector to Liverpool

Asif Hamid

A new business review, endorsed by the Liverpool City Region LEP and private sector stakeholders, has highlighted growth across Liverpool City Region’s professional and business services (PBS) sector.

It also shows where the city needs to focus its efforts to improve productivity and future proof growth.

The report shows the sector plays a crucial role as an enabler in the local economy – providing 107,000 jobs across 12,000 companies and contributing £8bn annually in GVA.

The report also showed strong growth in the sector – up by 41% between 2010 and 2017, compared with 23.5% across other sectors.

Additionally, around 20,000 jobs are forecast to be created in the PBS sector across the region over the next 20 years – helped by the significant labour pool from the universities.

The challenge is to promote growth in sectors that have higher levels of productivity to ensure the city is creating jobs for the large number of graduates – 20,000 every year in PBS-related subjects.

The review has been produced by Pegasus Group on behalf of the Liverpool City Region LEP and its PBS board, and is a call to arms to the wider city region.

It also focuses on the priorities designed to support the sector’s future growth.

These include: promoting the sector, supporting schools to prepare young people for the world of work, targeting inward investment activity, providing easy access to finance for high growth businesses, and boosting the supply of Grade A office space available in the city region.

Other recommendations include supporting skills development in the PBS workforce, more co-ordination around school and business engagement, and working to improve five-year survival rates for local businesses.

It also suggests there must be a strong focus on co-ordinating and supporting efforts to scale up local technology companies and secure a vibrant digital and creative community.

Asif Hamid, chair of the LEP, said: “The city region is at an exciting stage in its regeneration, and despite the uncertainty surrounding Brexit, business confidence has remained, and this review clearly sets out the potential for further growth.

“Professional and Business Services in the Liverpool City Region accounts for approximately a quarter of all firms – it is a crucial sector at the heart of making this region more prosperous and needs the right support.

“This review is the first step towards guiding the way and working collectively to achieve this goal.”

Steve Stuart, chair of the PBS Board, said: “This baseline review provides us with a clear picture of the sector as well as an analysis of the critical matters that need to be faced to keep the sector moving forward. There is much to be positive about and some of the statistics mentioned in this report really are impressive.”

Richard Cook, economics associate at Pegasus Group, said: “The priorities identified by the research have been shaped by stakeholders who work in the PBS sector on a daily basis, which will provide the city region with a strong foundation on which to grow the sector in the long-term.

“It’s important that the public and private sector now work closely together to achieve the strategic priorities identified by the research to raise the sector’s profile on a national and international basis.”

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