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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Belfast


Belfast’s economic landscape showcases a diverse range of sectors with significant activities in wholesale, retail trade, professional services, real estate, and information and communication. The city demonstrates a robust employment scenario with 279,726 employees, and a notable growth in businesses, particularly in innovative sectors like SaaS and mobile apps. The data reflects a dynamic business environment with a mix of established industries and emerging technologies.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: Belfast has a total of 279,726 employees. The city has experienced a positive trend in employment, with 1,585 businesses reporting an increase in their workforce.
  • Employee Growth Percentage: The city has seen an 8.81% growth in employment, indicating a healthy economic environment conducive to job creation.
  • Top Sectors by Employment: The leading sectors in terms of employment are wholesale and retail trade, professional, scientific, and technical activities, and real estate activities. This diversification suggests a balanced economic structure.

Sector Dynamics

  • Top Sectors by Company Count: The leading sectors include wholesale and retail trade (12.19%), professional services (11.72%), and real estate activities (9.22%). Information and communication, as well as construction, also play significant roles.
  • Top Growing Sectors: Sectors like SaaS, business and professional services, analytics, mobile apps, and internet platforms are rapidly growing, indicating a shift towards digital and technology-based industries.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: Out of 21,015 companies, 1,590 have ceased operations, reflecting a natural ebb and flow in the business lifecycle within the city.
  • Number of New Companies in 2 Years: There have been 4,359 new companies in the last two years, showcasing a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and a conducive environment for new business ventures.
  • SMEs and Exporters: With 14,140 SMEs and 279 exporters, Belfast shows a strong backbone of small and medium-sized enterprises contributing significantly to the economy.

Innovation and Investment

  • Fundraisings and Patents: The city has witnessed 60 fundraisings and has 3,996 patent owners, signaling an environment that fosters innovation and investment.
  • Number of Scale-ups: 132 scale-ups in the city highlight its capacity to support growing businesses.

Gender Diversity in Leadership

  • Founders by Gender: 21.95% female founders and 77.38% male founders indicate a gender gap in entrepreneurial leadership.
  • Directors by Gender: A similar trend is seen in directorship, with 24.04% female and 70.95% male directors.


Belfast’s economic and business activity paints a picture of a robust, diverse, and growing economy. The city thrives in traditional sectors while also embracing new, technology-driven industries. However, there is a notable gender gap in leadership roles that could be addressed to ensure more inclusive growth.

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