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Big developments provide work for London

Released: 08 August 2013 Download PDF

In recent years some of London’s big developments have created work for employees in both large enterprises and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), according to analysis of Inter-Departmental Business Register.

The total number of employees in the Canary Wharf area almost quadrupled between 2001 and 2012, from 27,400 to 100,500. This was mainly due to an increase in employees working for large enterprises (up by 67,400), but the number of employees working for SMEs in the area doubled, from 5,100 to 10,800. The biggest driver of growth was the financial and insurance activities sector, but information and communications, the professional, scientific and technical sector, and administrative and support service activities also contributed strongly. There were also increases in the numbers of employees working in several other sectors, notably in retail, accommodation and food services, and arts, entertainment and recreation.

The Westfield centre in West London opened in October 2008. The impact of this development can also be seen in the data. The number of employees in the area rose from 8,000 in 2008 to 15,100 in 2012, almost entirely due to increases in jobs in the retail and accommodation and food sectors. The centre provided a boost for employment in SMEs (with the number of employees rising by 110% between 2008 and 2012) as well as for large enterprises (up 86% between 2008 and 2012). The impact of the Westfield centre at Stratford near the Olympic Park in East London is not yet visible in the data.

Number of employees in the Canary Wharf area, by industry sector: 2001 and 2012

Industrial sector 2001 2012
Primary and utilities .. ..
Manufacturing 300 100
Construction 1,200 1,200
Wholesale and motor trades 800 700
Retail  300 1,400
Transportation and storage 2,000 600
Accommodation and food service activities 1,200 3,600
Information and communication 3,500 9,200
Financial and insurance activities 14,300 58,500
Real estate 500 1,200
Professional, scientific and technical 900 7,800
Administrative and support service activities 1,700 12,600
Public administration and defence .. ..
Education 100 100
Human health and social work activities 100 500
Arts, entertainment and recreation 100 2,200
Other service activities 300 300
Activities of households as employers 0 0
Activities of extraterritorial organisations 0 0
Total in all sectors 27,400 100,500

Table source: Office for National Statistics

Table notes:

  1. The symbol '..' denotes values which have been suppressed for disclosure control.
  2. The industry sectors presented are based upon the UK Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) 2007. Further information on SIC 2007 can be found at
  3. Data for 2001 was converted from SIC 1992 to SIC 2007 for comparability with 2012 results. For more details, see Appendix 1 of the first article in this series at

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Source: Office for National Statistics

Background notes

  1. SMEs are defined as for enterprises with fewer than 250 employees in the UK. Large enterprises are defined as enterprises with 250 or more employees in the UK.

  2. The Canary Wharf area is defined as Middle-layer Super Output Areas (MSOA) E02006854. The area of the West London Westfield centre is defined as MSOA E02000375. There is more information on MSOAs at and they can be seen on a searchable map of London at

  3. The source of data for this article is the Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR), a register which covers nearly all of UK economic activity including that of public sector bodies. The IDBR extracts used for this analysis are taken in March each year, but the employee data that they contain relates mainly to the previous September. Readers should note that the IDBR does not provide official estimates of numbers of employees in London or other parts of the UK. These are published in ONS’s monthly Labour Market Statistics series (available at ONS also recommends using the Business Register Employment Survey (BRES) for detailed industry sector and geographical breakdowns of official employee statistics.

  4. Details of the policy governing the release of new data are available by visiting or from the Media Relations Office email:

    These National Statistics are produced to high professional standards and released according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

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