Foreign owned businesses have a more favourable view on the availability of skilled staff than their UK counterparts when asked their opinions on London as a place to do business. But they are harsher than UK companies in their verdict on the city’s digital infrastructure and the transport links in London and the wider UK.
The opinions are voiced in the London Business Survey which was carried out for the GLA and the London Enterprise Panel and looked at large companies, SMEs and micro-enterprises employing fewer than 10 people, across 12 sectors.
While 7 out of 10 UK-owned companies say London is a good location for skilled staff 8 out of 10 foreign owned companies think that. And they are not quite so negative about the affordabilty of housing and office space with fewer categorising both as poor than UK owners.
But when it comes to the digital infrastructure and communications only half say is its good compared to 68% of UK-owned enterprises. And they are more negative about the transport infrastructure too.
Foreign or joint ownership accounts for 8% of the business units in London. (The survey defines a business unit as a single site location of a business). 25% of larger business units in London are foreign owned. A quarter of the foreign business units are in the finance and insurance sector and most were set up before 2009. Only 13% are defined as start-ups and established since 2012.
The survey also reveals a positive, forward thinking attitude in foreign business owners in London. 85% said their business planned to grow in the next 12 months, compared to 61% of UK-owned enterprises. Half of them were involved in some form of business innovation including new practices, organisation, strategies or processes.
82% of UK-owned business units in London employ fewer than 10 people. Only 61% of foreign-owned business units fall into this smaller category but that still means nearly 22,000 foreign-owned micro-enterprises now operating in the capital.