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The Top 6 UK Sectors for Foreign Direct Investment 2016-17

  • 2,265 FDI projects secured in 2016-17, a rise of 2%.
  • Total FDI jobs down by -7%, falling from 115,974 to 107,898 in 2016-17.
  • Software and Computer Services is number one for FDI, with 418 projects 2016-17.
  • The South East, West Midlands and North West hold the highest number of FDI projects.
  • America remains the UK’s largest source of inward investment, providing 557 FDI projects.

It has been reported by GOV as per the report UK FDI Investment, Trends and Analysis: 2018 that growth in the value of the foreign direct investment (FDI) positions held in the UK by overseas investors (FDI liabilities) exceeded that of UK FDI positions held abroad (FDI assets) in 2016.

This resulted in the UK’s net FDI position falling from £50.8 billion in 2015 to £12.5 billion by 2016, the lowest net position since comparable records began in 1997.

Inspired, took time to consider the projects and jobs created by FDI in the UK, identifying the 6 sectors benefitting from this type of investment the most.

Figures from the Inward Investment Results 2016-17 report released by the Department for International Trade, declare total FDI projects in the UK rose by 2% in 2016-17, from 2,213 (2015-16) to 2,265. This comprises projects by “existing investors” in the UK (1,212) and projects by “new to the UK” investors (1,053.)

Types of foreign direct investment taking place include New Investments – up by 9%, Expansions – down by – 5% and Mergers and Acquisitions (including Joint Ventures) – down by -6% in 2016-17. Further, the USA remains the UK’s largest source of inward investment; providing 557 projects, followed by the rest of Europe, Middle East and Africa (261) and China and Hong Kong –with 160.

However, the increase in total FDI projects is not mirrored in total jobs, with roles suffering a -7% fall from 115,974 (2015-16) to 107,898 in 2016-17. New roles decreasing from 82,650 (2015-16) to 75,226 in 2016-17.

In a table created by Turner Little, it is evident where projects are feeding a healthy workforce by comparing total projects and total new jobs in regions across the UK. found that excluding London, the South East (217), West Midlands (151) and the North West (147) hold the highest number of foreign direct investment projects. This equates to 5,432 new jobs in the South East, 6,570 new jobs in the West Midlands and 6,501 new roles in the North West, 2016-17. Proving FDI to be a real asset in the UK.

In terms of industry, found the UK’s Software and Computer Services sector to be number one for FDI, with 418 projects in 2016-17. This total is followed by the Financial Services industry (217) and Business and Consumer Services (211.)

Closing the top six sectors benefitting from foreign direct investment the most are Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation, with 184 FDI projects in the UK, Creative Media (151) and Advanced Engineering and Supply Chain –with a total 146.

The top three sectors with the least FDI projects are Chemicals and Agriculture (50), Extraction Industries and Aerospace (47).

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