Top Ten locations where CEOs live are all situated in London and South East

Publications that covered this story include: The Daily Express and the Yorkshire Post
  • Top three locations include Westminster, West Surrey and Camden/City of London
  • Nowhere further north than Oxfordshire makes the top ten

The Top Ten locations in the UK where the highest number of CEOs* live are all in London and the South East, which shows how concentrated the HQs of UK PLCs are in the capital, our research shows.

The Top location home to the most CEOs is Westminster, with 6,010 living there. Coming in second is West Surrey (which includes Weybridge and Epsom) which has 5,510 CEOs, and Camden/City of London is in third with 4,830 CEOs living there (see table below).

The study suggests that there has been very little shift in the North-South business divide over the last two decades – with not enough businesses moving their corporate HQs outside of London and the Home Counties. Nowhere further north than Oxfordshire appears in the top ten locations. Birmingham (2,149 CEOs), the UK’s second city, lies in 12th, with less CEOs living there than in Tower Hamlets (2,317) for example.

Whilst locating near London can provide businesses with several competitive advantages such as access to a larger talent pool, businesses that base their HQs outside of London should benefit from lower costs such as property and wages.

If the Government wants a more equal distribution of the economy across the UK, it should consider further incentives for businesses to have their HQs outside of London.

Improving the infrastructure in the North should encourage more HQs to locate outside the South East. Projects such as HS2, the Mersey Gateway Bridge and Birmingham’s Big City Plan all aim to greatly improve the ability of businesses to base their HQs outside of London.

Regional hubs that have the capacity to win more businesses away from the South East include:

  • Leeds, which has become a Northern hub for the technology and digital sector
  • Bristol, which is focused on aerospace and technology businesses
  • Edinburgh, as a financial services hub

Clive Gawthorpe, partner in our Manchester office says, “The huge number of CEOs living in the South East reflects the UK’s reliance on London as a centre for HQs. Improvements in technology should be weakening the draw of the capital city.

“So many locations away from London have emerged as successful business hubs for advanced and emerging technologies. But expanding growth in the regions is a full-time job for the Government – it’s a task the Government can’t take its eye off.”

Top Ten locations where the highest number of CEOs live

*ONS data. Data includes Chief executive, Civil servant (grade 5 & above) and Vice President