The Midlands created more employment from foreign direct investment (FDI) than any other region in the UK in 2011, according to Ernst & Young’s latest UK Attractiveness Survey.
Despite attracting fewer FDI projects during 2011, the number of jobs created in the Midlands has nearly doubled – to 6,738 from 58 projects, compared with 3,769 from 91 projects in 2010.
The UK remains Europe’s leading FDI destination, with London attracting the most projects in 2011 (327), followed by South East England (83) and Scotland (51). London and the South East were the only regions to experience an increase in the number of projects from 2010.
Wouter Schuitemaker, investment director for Business Birmingham – the inward investment programme for Birmingham, the Black Country and Solihull – said:
“While the Midlands continues to attract large, cash-rich investors that are creating significant numbers of jobs, we are not operating on a level playing field with other UK destinations. English regions are having to compete with the substantial financial incentives often offered by the UK’s devolved nations to attract investors to their locations.
“Business Birmingham has helped to create 2,750 jobs in the past year by attracting major investors to the city region. However, offering competitive financial incentives could dramatically improve our success rate and ensure an equal footing with other UK locations.”
Ernst & Young’s survey also identified that automotive investments created the most employment opportunities in the West Midlands – Jaguar Land Rover alone generated 1,750 in Solihull and Wolverhampton – demonstrating the region’s position as the UK’s automotive and manufacturing heartland.
While London’s reputation as a business capital continues to attract investment, the survey highlighted that the West Midlands was a leading choice for automotive and energy companies.
Sara Fowler, Ernst & Young’s senior partner for the Midlands, said: “The economy is still creating a number of challenges but investors are continuing to take advantage of the skilled workforce we have here in the Midlands, particularly in manufacturing.”