LEEDS has slipped behind Manchester in the rankings of UK financial and professional services centres following the global economic crisis of 2008,.
The figures compiled by TheCityUK, the finance sector industry body, show that, between 2008 and 2011, the number of people employed in financial and professional services in Leeds fell by 11.5 per cent to 46,400. The figure for Manchester for the same period was unchanged at 49,800.
In Sheffield, the number of people employed in these sectors fell by 8.5 per cent during this period to 19,400. However, a spokesman for TheCityUk said that Leeds saw an increase of 5,800 in financial and professional services employment in 2011, while the wider Leeds Metropolitan area recorded a rise of 6,800.
The spokesman added: “Leeds is still ranked third in the country in terms of legal services employment, behind London and Manchester, and also third in terms of banking sector employment, behind London and Edinburgh.”
Chris Cummings, the chief executive of TheCityUK, said: “The game (in financial and professional services) is Leeds to lose. Leeds has got a very good reputation and is well placed to benefit from the wider growth in legal services.”
Lurene Joseph, chief executive of Leeds and Partners, which was formerly known as Marketing Leeds, said: “Leeds has a long established and well-deserved reputation nationally and internationally as a major centre for the UK’s financial and professional services, contributing more than £7bn to the UK economy. Since 2002 the sector has grown considerably in Yorkshire, and last year, 15,000 jobs were created across the region.
“There is more work to be done and Leeds and Partners is using its new mandate to work in partnership with the private sector, including with TheCityUk, where one of the areas of focus is the ‘near shoring’ agenda.”
Jeff Pearey, a Leeds-based director at real estate firm Jones Lang LaSalle, said: “Some professionals are looking for new space, and while I would not suggest we have turned any corners, we are certainly seeing a resurgence of interest in both sectors.”
Richard Wright, executive director of Sheffield Chamber of Commerce, said there had been a rationalisation of backroom services in the professional services sector.