2021 London Business 1000 (year 5)

London's local business survey

This year, for the fifth time, London Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) and London Councils have commissioned a local business survey of Greater London. 

Leading polling firm YouGov sampled 1,250 businesses, which for the second time included an additional 250 responses from large businesses (with 250 employees or more).  The final figures have been weighted to be representative of London businesses by size and industry, while the detailed report breaks down the findings by business size, sector and London’s 4 subregion.

Cllr Elizabeth Campbell, Executive member, Business, Economy and Culture, London Councils, stated:

 “This year’s survey shows that  although London businesses are  hiring again, they are struggling to get the skills they need. In addition, the apprenticeship uptake remains disappointingly low. 

The survey highlights business leaders’ enthusiasm for more sustainable practices. It is  encouraging  that over two thirds of London businesses are doing at least one thing to reduce their environmental impact. The private sector will be vital in addressing climate change.

London’s businesses are a huge part of what makes our city so unique. We must listen to them and work with them to secure London’s environmental and economic future.”

Headline findings show that:

Business Confidence

  • London’s businesses increasingly confidence, but with the biggest threat seen as new variants causing national lockdowns (48%)
  • Retailers and those in the supply chain, such as wholesalers, storage and transport sectors, are most concerned about a lack of consumer spending (48% and 44% respectively), although this has seen a significant decline since last year (72% and 62% respectively)
  • Almost four in ten larger firms (38%) are worried about the threat of not retaining staff

Skills, apprenticeships and recruitment

  • London businesses are confident their headcount will increase over the next 12 months (42%), a marked increase from 2020 (26%)
  • Medium-sized businesses have seen the biggest uplift across both recruitment over the last year (72% in 2020, 82% in 2021) and expectations to recruit in the next 12 months (68% in 2020, 85% in 2021)
  • Only 14% of large businesses say they do not face any skills challenges within their general workforce
  • In 2020, only 7% of businesses were facing a lack of applicants for vacancies, compared to a fifth in 2021 (19%)
  • Overall, 7% of London businesses currently employ apprentices, showing no real change from 2020 (8%)
  • In 2021, employment of apprentices is significantly higher for medium (30%) and large employers (42%), in line with the 2020 figures
  • 38% of business leaders said they did not know if they needed to pay the levy, up from 18% in the 2019 survey, and of those employers required to pay the apprenticeship levy only a third (33%) currently employ apprentices

Climate Change

  • London businesses are increasingly aware of the UK government’s target to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050 – nine in 10 are now aware of this target (89%)
  • Businesses have considerable appetite for local improvements, such as enhanced recycling services (37%, rising to 45% in south London) and green transport/freight support (22%)
  • Firms would welcome advice and support from their local boroughs, including information on how their company can be more sustainable (27%), technical advice on retrofitting for energy efficiency (17%), or business opportunities/networking (17%)
  • Consistent with 2020, over two-thirds of businesses are doing at least one activity to reduce their environmental impact (69%)