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

Analysis Report: Economic and Business Activity in Watford


Watford exhibits a vibrant economic landscape with a strong presence in sectors like professional, scientific and technical activities, information and communication, and retail trade. The city’s employment dynamics show a significant growth of 16.29%, highlighting a robust job market. The diversity in sectors, along with a notable number of scaleups and new companies, suggests a dynamic and evolving business environment. However, the gender distribution among founders and directors indicates a skew towards male dominance, which points to potential areas for diversity improvement.

Employment and Business Growth

  • Total Employees: 175,358. Watford has seen a substantial rise in employment, with a 16.29% growth. This increase reflects a thriving job market possibly driven by sectors like information and communication, indicating a strong demand for skilled labor in these areas.
  • Top Sectors with Employee Growth: The sectors experiencing the most significant growth are Marketing services, Property/land development and construction, Building materials, and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS). This diversification suggests a healthy balance between traditional industries and emerging tech sectors.

Sector Dynamics

  • Top Sectors by Company Numbers: The leading sectors are Professional, Scientific, and Technical activities (19.68%), Information and Communication (14.93%), and Wholesale/Retail Trade (11.41%). This distribution portrays a city leaning towards specialised services and knowledge-based industries.
  • Top Sectors with Rising Company Numbers: Marketing services, Property/land development, Building materials, and SaaS. The growth in these sectors may indicate a trend towards digital transformation and a booming real estate market.
  • New Companies in the Last 2 Years: 2,898. This high number of new companies suggests a fertile ground for entrepreneurship and business startups.
  • Total Companies: 12,958. A substantial business presence, indicative of a diverse and competitive market.
  • SMEs and Scaleups: 9,912 SMEs and 43 scaleups. The significant number of SMEs shows the city’s entrepreneurial spirit, while the scaleups indicate maturing businesses with potential for further growth.
  • Exporters and Companies with Foreign Parentage: 218 exporters and 353 companies with foreign parentage, demonstrating international business engagement and global connectivity.

Business Continuity

  • Company Cessations: 1,587. This number, while reflective of the natural business lifecycle, also suggests areas for improvement in business sustainability and support.
  • Fundraisings and Patent Owners: 691 fundraisings and 3 patent owners. The high number of fundraisings points to active investment opportunities, while the low number of patent owners may indicate a focus on service-based rather than R&D-intensive industries.

Demographics and Diversity

  • Gender Distribution in Leadership: 3.77% female founders, 26.42% female directors. The low percentage of female founders and directors highlights a gender gap in business leadership.
  • Age Distribution of Directors: Majority of directors fall in the 40-60 age range, reflecting experienced leadership in Watford’s business community.


Watford’s economy is characterised by a strong employment growth, a dynamic mix of traditional and emerging sectors, and an entrepreneurial spirit. The city’s business landscape is thriving, though there is room for improvement in areas like gender diversity in leadership and fostering R&D-intensive industries.

Company foundations and cessations over time

Active companies over time

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