UK Position Under Threat in Growth League Table

Mid-sized companies are leading the way in driving employment growth in Europe, creating nearly 150,000 new jobs across Europe over the past three years. This is one of the key findings revealed today in the 10th annual edition of the Europe’s 500 Listing of fast growing, job-creating companies, published by not-for profit association Europe’s 500 – Entrepreneurs for Growth and supported by Microsoft and KPMG.

The 72 UK companies amongst the 500 have created a total of 21,317 new jobs at an annual growth rate of 21%. This represents 99 new jobs per company per year – matching the pan-European average.

This is the first year since the creation of the Europe’s 500 listing where a UK company has not made the ‘Top Ten’ on the ranking, highlighting the growing challenge to the UK and other mature economies from Central and Eastern Europe. The listing reveals that these new EU member states are outstripping the west in both job creation and turnover growth across all business sectors.

Despite this the UK still has the second highest number of companies in the listing as well as the highest percentage of stock exchange listed businesses amongst the 500 – reflecting the mature status of our economy.

The 500 winning companies from 25 countries delivered average annual job growth of 16% and have showed equally strong average annual turnover growth of 18% over the same period – up from an average of 14% recorded for both categories last year.

A typical Europe’s 500 winning company tends to grow very quickly. For example, the highest ranked UK company, Integrated Cleaning Management (ranked 11th), grew from 1,512 employees at the end of 2002 to 4,189 three years later. Three-quarters of the UK winners are similar mid-size businesses, compared to two-thirds across the whole pan European listing.

The results also show that traditional business sectors are no bar to job creation. Winners were found across all industry categories, although the IT sector (services and manufacturing) is the most highly represented with 150 companies (30%). However, manufacturing is also well represented.

“Medium size businesses already contribute around 37% of the UK annual GDP and employ more than 8 million of the UK workforce. The most successful mid market companies today are recognising that people are at the core of their success and we in the UK need to continue supporting them to ensure these companies are able to maintain their growth in an expanding European marketplace”, Simon Hughes, Head of Midmarket, Microsoft UK.

Six new EU member states qualify for the first time this year: Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Slovenia, joined the Czech Republic which was listed for the first time in 2005. Collectively their 46 winning companies are delivering annual job growth of 21.1%, outperforming the other EU and EFTA (European Free Trade Association) countries.

Commenting on this trend, Mel Egglenton, KPMG’s Head of Middle Market in the UK, said: “This year’s list is a wake-up call to the UK and other established Western European markets. We have emerging markets on our doorstep, with the Central and Eastern European business communities proving themselves a force to be reckoned with. It’s not all doom and gloom at home though with only Germany producing more fast-growing businesses for the Top 500 ranking than the UK.”

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