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October 1, 2008

UK company chiefs migrate north

An annual survey of UK company directors has found that an increasing number of company directors are choosing to live outside of London and the South East, with what it termed, “A gradual migration of company directors from the South of England, to more northerly regions, as well as Scotland and Wales”.

By Jason Stamper

The KDB Annual Survey of UK Company Directors 2008 found that while London still has the highest density of company directors in the country (10.4% of the adult population), the South East (8.1%) saw the biggest fall in the proportion of the population who are company directors with the figures for the South Coast (6.4%), East Anglia (5.5%) and South West (5.7%) dropping as well. In contrast, the North East (4.2%), North West (5.1%), Midlands (5.2%), Wales (3.9%) and Scotland (4%) all saw their proportions grow.

Matthew Boot, Chief Analyst at KDB, said: “The density of company directors in each locality provides us with an effective proxy and map of entrepreneurial and wealth-creating Britain.”

According to the researchers, Knaulage DB, the 2.83 million company directors in the UK make a disproportionate contribution to both local and national economies.

Despite making up just 6% of the adult population, they contribute one third of income tax revenue and more than £5.7bn in Council Tax. As a result, they serve as a strong indication of the vitality of local economies, according to KDB.

“As this map changes, so too will the character of local markets,” said KDB.

The trend north was reflected in the UK’s large cities, with Birmingham (5.2%), Edinburgh (4.8%), Glasgow (3.9%), Liverpool (3.9%) and Manchester (4.5%) all recording growth, but 46 out of the top 50 London districts showing a decrease.

The researchers said the findings will be a valuable tool for CRM professionals looking to understand local demographics within the UK, by giving a fuller picture of changing customer profiles.

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The report suggests that the reason for the shift may be advances in what it called, “Modern web and communications technology which allows people to run their businesses in virtually any location.”

It may also “represent a trend amongst affluent people towards putting more value on quality of life and ‘off-time’”, the firm said.

“As regeneration projects provide quality infrastructure and culture across the UK, the lure of the capital is diminished,” said KDB.

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