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An attractive business base

Hertfordshire is an attractive location for global and European headquarters and shared service centres. Its advantages include competitive costs, access to markets, global connectivity and an enviable pool of talent. 

There are more than 30 significant company headquarters in the county, representing annual sales of more than £1 billion. The county’s extensive service sector includes specialisms in HQ operations, shared service centres, business process outsourcing and logistics.

Major corporates such as Tesco, Mothercare, Pitney Bowes, Computacenter and The National Lottery are all based in Hertfordshire, delivering services to millions of customers across the British Isles and Europe. Tesco, the UK’s largest and most successful retailer, has its head office and operations functions in Hertfordshire, employing more than 10,000 people over three sites.

The county is a hub for data centres and payment systems operators, including VocaLink, PayPoint, and Cardtronics. It’s a regional base for Deloitte, KPMG, PwC, Baker Tilly, Mercer & Hole, and BDO; and a major service centre hub for Aon and AECOM.

Hertfordshire is also home to top business schools. Ashridge Executive Education was ranked third in the UK by the Financial Times in 2017 and is home to the UK's leading business university.

Being only 30 minutes away from central London, the county hosts more than 900 foreign-owned companies, as well as more than 50 headquarters of foreign-owned firms, including Eisai and TJX (known as TK Maxx in the UK).

There are 12,500 finance, consulting, accounting and legal firms in the county, including 1,200 financial services companies.  

The East of England Science and Innovation Audit launched in 2017 highlights the region's key sector strengths and the growth and inward investment opportunities they bring.

Download the full report

A strong economy

Hertfordshire has a strong, knowledge-based economy worth £34 billion a year - that’s £29,000 for every person in the county. It’s growing faster than the national average, at 4.3% a year since 2011.


An enterprising culture

Hertfordshire has 87 active businesses for every 1,000 working-age residents - well above the England average of 68. Between 2005 and 2015 the number of businesses rose by 2.8% a year, compared with a national rate of 2.1%. In 2015 there were 64,080 active businesses in the county.


A skilled workforce

Since 2010 employment in knowledge-based industries has grown by 5.7% a year, almost twice the national rate. In 2015 the county hosted 130,900 jobs in knowledge-based industries.


Highly qualified population

Hertfordshire’s working-age population is more highly qualified than average, with 42.5% educated to degree level or above, compared with 38% nationally. Hertfordshire residents are more likely to work in the most highly skilled jobs - 57.4% compared with 54.1% nationally.


Brimming with ideas

For every million residents, Hertfordshire patented 156 new ideas a year between 2002 and 2011 - well above the national average of 98. Hertfordshire’s private businesses are highly adept at bringing their products to market and maximising their impact (51% have high or very high product market strategies).


A £14 billion sector

Business services contributed £13.9 billion to the Hertfordshire economy in 2015, representing 41% of the county’s economic output. Between 2005 and 2015 the sector’s value to the Hertfordshire economy grew by 2.6% per year.

The number of jobs has grown by 4.5% annually since 2009, rising to 193,000 by 2015. Meanwhile the number of firms in the sector grew by 5.3% since 2010, reaching a total of 26,415 in 2016.

Source: Statistics: Office for National Statistics;
Author: My Local Economy