- Areas of Expertise
- Industry Support
Many rapidly growing industries in the North East depend on the vital support provided by the area’s knowledge intensive business services (KIBS).
The quality of the service provided ensures that the industries can compete effectively in increasingly complex national, European and global markets.
The North East workforce has an enviable reputation for low staff turnover and low rates of absenteeism. This has not only enabled the KIBS sector to generate around 25% of the area’s wealth but also act as a magnet for incoming firms – particularly in the contact centre field.
Rapid expansion has taken place and the strong growth potential of the sector in the North East has been recognised in data gathered by the OECD.
In fact the impressive expansion of contact centres means they now provide a greater proportion of jobs in the North East than in any other part of the country apart from the North West.
The extensive infrastructure of KIBS and call centres has led to networking and support groups such as the Service Network, in which hundreds of firms are involved. The network offers market intelligence, events, training activities and opportunities for businesses to collaborate.
Another expert provider of contacts and connections within the sector is The Bridge Club, which attracts high level speakers to its regular knowledge-sharing events.
Areas of Expertise
Many large and prominent companies such as Barclays Bank and Santander (formerly GE Money) have made the North East the location for their key contact centres.
The appeal of the area for this kind of activity has made the North East one of the leading regions of the UK for a huge variety of contact centres.
Barclays, for example, employs more than 1,400 people in its UK flagship centre at Doxford International Business Park in Sunderland.
Santander has around 1,100 people working in its 100,000 square feet purpose-built offices at Cobalt Business Park, in North Tyneside. This is also where Newcastle Building Society and Electronic Data Systems have established centres.
The North East has superb business parks, with excellent communications infrastructures and transport connections.
This has enabled the North East to compete highly effectively against emerging economies for contact centre operations, especially as the demand grows for more sophisticated services.
So there has been a significant growth in technical support and business process outsourcing, because of the value-added services that the area’s contact centres can provide.
Teleperformance Technical Services, which has around 400 staff at its centre in Gateshead, works on behalf of computer software and hardware companies around the world.
The legal firms, accountants, management consultant and marketing services businesses that are located in the North East have made the area highly regarded for its growing strengths in knowledge intensive business services.
Dickinson Dees, for example, with its imposing purpose-built offices on Newcastle Quayside, is one of the Top 50 law firms in the UK, as well as being the largest in the North East.
Nearby is Ward Hadaway which has been named by the legal industry guide Chambers & Partners as one of the top-ranked law firms in the country.
Among the major accountancy firms are PricewaterhouseCoopers and KPMG in Newcastle, while Tenon – the ninth largest accountancy business in the UK – operates a large office in Sunderland.
Leading names are complemented by locally grown accountancy firms such as Tait Walker, which now employs more than 125 staff in its three North East offices.
Many creative agencies and marketing firms have built up a formidable presence in the area. They include Robson Brown in Newcastle, a provider of integrated marketing solutions, incorporating advertising, design and PR services. This has become the largest independent agency and fifth largest media buying point outside London.
Another Newcastle-based firm providing integrated creative solutions is Gardner Richardson. It incorporates advertising, PR, digital media and design activities into the services it offers.
Lycetts, the UK leading broker of farm and estate insurance, which also offers specialist financial services and commercial advice, has its head office in Newcastle.
Key Facts & Figures
- During the decade up to 2014 the North East’s professional services sector is expected to add 20,000 jobs – a growth rate of 14.8% that is higher than almost any other sector of the economy.
- Knowledge intensive business services generate about 25% of the wealth added to the North East economy every year.
- The UK’s leading broker of farm and estate insurance, Lycetts, has its head office in Newcastle.
- Barclays Bank employs more than 1,400 people in its UK flagship centre at Doxford International Business Park in Sunderland.
- The North East hosts more than 140 contact centres with around 38,000 agent positions.
- Low staff turnover and low absenteeism have helped stimulate rapid call centre development in the North East.
- Dickinson Dees in Newcastle is one of the Top 50 law firms in the UK as well as being the largest in the North East.
- Legal industry guide Chambers & Partners lists Newcastle-based Ward Hadaway among the top-ranked law firms in the UK.
- Hundreds of firms are involved in the Service Network, which provides support, market intelligence and collaboration opportunities.
- Integrated marketing solutions firms Robson Brown in Newcastle is the fifth largest media buying point outside London.
North East England has measures in place to help promote the region as a location for contact centre inward investment. For example, in Contact Babel’s operational review of contact centres the North East has consistently scored well both as a location for investment and with regard to support from regional development agency One NorthEast.
In addition, a virtual strategy for contact centres exists – in the form of a regional, industry-led Call Centre Advisory Board – with many of the significant operators within the region represented.
The contact centre industry is also able to take advantage of the North East Strategic Account Management programme, a service for both UK and foreign-owned companies that have been pre-identified as being strategic to the region. The service provides an all-encompassing approach to business support to help these companies maximise their growth and investments, maintaining an ongoing relationship and acting as a point of contact.
About North East England
Support for Investors
- Advice on availability & costs of premises
- Assistance with grant applications
- Identification of R&D in your sector
- Property Solutions
- Market Validation
Industry Support and Infrastructure
- Centres of Excellance & Clusters
- Innovation Connectors
- R&D Facilities
Skills and Expertise
- Overview of Skills and Experience
- Innovation Highlights
- Introduction to Our Key Sectors
- Key Funding Channels
- Selective Finance for Investment
- Grants and Funding
Premises and Locations
- Property Solutions
- Strategic Development Sites
- Managed Workspaces
- By Air
- By Sea
- By Rail
- By Road
Doing Business in the UK
- Understanding Tax
- Visas and Immigration
How Can We Help?
This website is your guide to doing business in North East England and the range of inward investment support services from One North East.
Discover why North East England should be your UK platform for global growth with a free consultation from our inward investment team.
IN FOCUS ARTICLES