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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Sunderland


Sunderland, a city characterised by a diverse economic landscape, shows significant activity in sectors like wholesale/retail trade, construction, and professional activities. Despite no recent IPOs, the city exhibits a notable 10.24% employee growth rate. The rise in new companies, especially SMEs and exporters, highlights a dynamic business environment. However, the number of company cessations indicates challenges in business continuity.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: Sunderland employs 92,031 people. The city has witnessed an employee growth rate of 10.24%, indicating robust employment opportunities and economic vitality.
  • Sector Dynamics: Leading sectors include wholesale/retail trade (13.69%), construction (12.98%), and professional activities (12.54%). This diversity suggests a balanced economic base.
  • Top Sectors Showing Growth: Sectors such as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS), mobile apps, and other manufacturing/engineering are gaining momentum, albeit from a smaller base.
  • New Companies in Last 2 Years: 2,880 new companies established in the past two years demonstrate a vibrant entrepreneurial spirit and potential for future economic growth.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: The cessation of 1,194 companies points to challenges in sustaining businesses, possibly due to competitive pressures or economic shifts.
  • Scaleups: 51 scaleups indicate a healthy growth trajectory for existing businesses, showcasing potential for job creation and innovation.
  • SMEs and Exporters: With 6,291 SMEs and 194 exporters, Sunderland shows a strong presence of small and medium enterprises, contributing significantly to the local economy.

Demographic Dynamics

  • Gender Representation in Founders: 22.73% of founders are female, highlighting a need for greater gender diversity in the entrepreneurial landscape.
  • Gender Representation in Directors: 26.46% female directors, suggesting moderate female representation at the leadership level.


Sunderland’s economic landscape is marked by a mix of traditional and emerging sectors, with significant employment growth and a vibrant startup scene. Challenges in sustaining businesses need addressing, even as the city shows potential in sectors like SaaS and mobile apps. Efforts to enhance gender diversity in leadership roles could further strengthen the economic fabric.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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