Postcode lottery: Where does your company sit on the productivity map?
New data has revealed significant disparity between UK postcodes of small business productivity, suggesting that the most productive parts of the country are up to 26 times more’so than the least.
The State of Small Business report, published by innovation charity Nesta in partnership with technology firm Sage, used in-depth data analysis to produce an overall assessment of small business performance in each UK region, using a productivity map to demonstrate its findings.
Annual turnover per employee was used to measure productivity levels. Bythismetric, small firms in West Somerset were found to be the UK’s least productive, generating an average 56, 500 per employee each year.
In contrast, small businesses in the City of London produced 1.45m annually for each employee.
On the surface, the data suggested that small companies in the most productive parts of the UK were 26 times more productive than those in the least.
However, significant productivity disparity was also discovered within individual regions. On average, the most productive local authorities were typically five times more so than the least in each region.
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Availability of skills and connectivity levels were cited as the key drivers of productivity differences.
Small business productivity across the UK
Local authorities with the highest productivity rate
Turnover per employee (?)
City of London
1, 450, 000
1, 060, 000
Tonbridge and Malling
Local authorities with the lowest productivity rate
Turnover per employee (?)
Weymouth and Portland
Isle of Wight
Argyll and Bute
Isles of Scilly
The findings also poured cold water on the notion that strong business survival rates were an indication of a thriving SME landscape. Researchers found that some of the most productive parts of the UK also registered the toughest rates of survival, and vice versa.
For example, the London borough of Lambeth produced 1m turnover per employee each year, within a 42.1 per cent five-year survival rate. In contrast, businesses in Aberdeenshire produced 0.123m within a 54.5 per cent survival rate.
The term creative destruction? was coined by the study to indicate the economic benefit of harsh trading environments.
Praseeda Nair is the editorial director of Business Advice, and its sister publication for growing businesses, Real Business. She's an impassioned advocate for women in leadership, and likes to profile business owners, advisors and experts in the field of entrepreneurship and management.