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The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.

Comprehensive Performance Report for West Midlands


The following report provides a comprehensive analysis of the business landscape across the councils in the West Midlands region, focusing on various performance metrics for the year 2022. This analysis aims to identify key trends, sector performance, and overall economic health within each council, providing valuable insights for stakeholders and policymakers.

Data for this report has been sourced from aggregated records of employment, business activities, and sector performance within the region. The primary objective is to evaluate each council’s performance, considering the population to ensure a balanced perspective on the data.

Population and Employment Overview

Council Number of Employees Population Employees per 1000 Residents
Birmingham 752400 733627 1025.56
Coventry 234401 249005 941.37
Walsall 161429 173316 931.30
Solihull 164722 128180 1284.51
Wolverhampton 107286 162992 658.23
Dudley 102400 193637 528.98
Sandwell 104572 204575 511.15
Warwick 129488 91941 1408.09
Stratford-on-Avon 99504 75166 1323.76
Stafford 90054 82916 1086.16
Stoke-on-Trent 88616 159765 554.76
Shropshire 98230 190336 516.09
Telford and Wrekin 74301 111708 665.12
Redditch 58532 52339 1118.30
Rugby 72104 66165 1089.80
Nuneaton and Bedworth 48971 79247 617.92
North Warwickshire 94352 39604 2383.08
Newcastle-under-Lyme 66772 81715 817.15
Lichfield 123889 61645 2010.15
East Staffordshire 77172 73323 1052.45
South Staffordshire 25590 67179 380.95
Staffordshire Moorlands 15122 57866 261.34
Cannock Chase 42958 63360 677.81
Malvern Hills 19734 43934 449.15
Worcester 62607 65044 962.89
Wychavon 62843 74766 840.75
Wyre Forest 31718 58513 542.03
Bromsgrove 52516 58890 891.66
Tamworth 23328 47185 494.45

Business Dynamics

Across the West Midlands, the total number of companies varies significantly, reflecting the diverse economic environments within each council. Birmingham, with its large population, hosts the highest number of companies, while smaller councils like Staffordshire Moorlands and Malvern Hills have far fewer businesses. This variation highlights the economic disparities across the region and underscores the need for tailored economic policies.

New company formations in 2022 show a dynamic entrepreneurial spirit in areas like North Warwickshire and Lichfield, which, despite their smaller populations, have demonstrated significant business activity relative to their size. Conversely, larger councils like Sandwell and Dudley show lower activity per capita, suggesting potential areas for economic stimulation.

Sector Analysis

The top sectors across the West Midlands vary, with ‘Professional, scientific and technical activities’ and ‘Wholesale and retail trade’ being predominant. Notably, councils like Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick have a strong presence of companies in the ‘Professional, scientific and technical activities’, which correlates with their high number of employees and economic output.

In terms of sectors attracting investment in 2022, ‘Software-as-a-service (SaaS)’ and ‘Mobile apps’ were prominent, particularly in councils like Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick. This indicates a growing trend towards digital and technology-oriented businesses, which could be a strategic focus for future economic development initiatives in the region.

Scaleups and Growth

Scaleup activity, indicative of growing businesses reaching new heights, is notably high in Birmingham and Coventry, aligning with their larger economic bases and workforce. These areas also reported IPOs, highlighting their role as significant business hubs within the West Midlands.

However, the absence of IPOs in smaller councils does not diminish their growth potential, as evidenced by high employee growth rates in areas like North Warwickshire and Lichfield. These councils, while smaller in scale, are rapidly expanding, suggesting a robust local support system and a conducive environment for business growth.

International and Export Dynamics

Exporting is a critical component of economic strength, and councils like Solihull and Warwick lead in this area, with a high number of exporters relative to their business populations. This international reach suggests a strong manufacturing and technological base capable of competing on a global scale.

Additionally, the presence of companies with non-UK parents is significant in councils like Coventry and Solihull, indicating foreign investment and international business interest, which are positive indicators of economic health and global connectivity.

Investment and Innovation

Fundraising activities are a key indicator of economic vitality and investor confidence. In 2022, Birmingham and Coventry saw the highest levels of fundraising, reflecting their status as economic powerhouses within the region. The presence of patent owners and grant recipients in these areas further underscores a strong innovation ecosystem.

Academic spinouts, particularly in councils with proximity to universities, like Coventry, also highlight the successful commercialization of research and development activities, contributing to the knowledge-based economy of the West Midlands.

Diversity and Governance

The diversity of founders and directors plays a crucial role in fostering inclusive economic growth. While there is a varied gender representation across councils, areas like Stratford-on-Avon and Warwick show a higher percentage of female founders and directors, which could be seen as a progressive move towards gender equality in business leadership.

The age diversity of directors also varies, with younger directors being more prevalent in newer, tech-focused councils like Stratford-on-Avon, indicating a generational shift in business leadership towards more tech-savvy and innovative approaches.

Entrepreneurship and Support Programs

Support for young entrepreneurs and startups is critical for sustained economic growth. Councils like Birmingham and Coventry, with their higher attendance at accelerator programs, demonstrate a strong support network for new businesses, which is essential for fostering entrepreneurship.

The number of young companies with young directors in these areas also points to a vibrant startup ecosystem, driven by youthful innovation and entrepreneurial spirit.

Business Stability and Longevity

The stability of the business environment is reflected in the number of companies ceasing operations. While some councils like Birmingham and Coventry have higher numbers, this is often proportional to their larger economic scale and number of businesses.

It’s crucial to note that business closures are a natural part of the economic cycle, and the key is to maintain a net positive growth in business formations, which most councils in the West Midlands are successfully achieving.

Conclusion and Recommendations

This report has highlighted the diverse and dynamic nature of the West Midlands’ economic landscape. Each council exhibits unique strengths and challenges, with significant opportunities for growth in technology and innovation sectors.

Recommendations for stakeholders include focusing on enhancing support for scaleups, increasing investment in technology sectors, and fostering a more inclusive and diverse business leadership environment. Continued support for international trade and export activities will also be crucial for maintaining global competitiveness.

The future outlook for the West Midlands is optimistic, with potential for further economic diversification and growth, particularly in emerging sectors that leverage digital technologies.

The information is accurate as of 31 December 2022.
Data courtesy of Beauhurst.