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By David Birch

Home to the Big Four firms of chartered accountants, the West Midlands boasts a buoyant professional services sector. As the youngest city in Europe, Birmingham also generates the largest number of business and professional services graduates, as well as new start-ups and active businesses anywhere outside London.

This has undoubtedly opened the door for professionals across the sector to offer their expertise and play an active role in furthering the growth of multiple organisations throughout Birmingham and the wider region. Indeed, it is for this reason that we at Search Consultancy expanded our professional services recruitment offering to the West Midlands last year.

In this blog, I invite you to take a closer look inside Birmingham, why you should start a career here and how Search can help you do just that!

So what's happening across Birmingham?

The West Midlands has a significant concentration of activity within the professional services sector. Based in the centre of England, Birmingham is the second largest city in the UK, with nearly 50,000 people in financial and related professional services employment.

Ranked as the youngest city in Europe, with under 25-year-olds accounting for nearly 40 percent of the population, Birmingham also generates the largest number of business and professional services graduates outside of London.

With a strong appetite for progression, Birmingham has been a champion of innovation since the earliest days of the Industrial Revolution. In recent years, this city has continued to utilise its wealth of research and development resources to build the next generation of everything from greener transport to genetics, from regeneration to faster broadband speeds. Millions has been invested toward a number of impressive infrastructure projects throughout the city, including the two HS2 rail stations, the extension of Birmingham Airport and the Hub in Solihull.

Why you should consider starting your career in Birmingham

Birmingham is the UK’s most rapidly improving city in which to live and work, according to a recent report by PwC and Demos. The West Midlands is undergoing an economic revival, with higher levels of inward investment, faster export growth and better job creation.

Referred to as ‘Europe’s Meeting Place’ by professionals throughout the UK, Birmingham is home to nearly 80,000 companies, including 1,544 international firms. Furthermore, a recent report by the Greater Birmingham & Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership showed a 3.2 percent increase in job vacancies, outpacing the nationwide average of 2.3 percent. The construction of HS2 rail network, along with the 2022 Commonwealth Games will only continue to create more opportunities for employment and ultimately strengthen the local economy going forward.

As a base for the Big Four Accountancy firms, numerous banks, over 500 law firms and Europe’s second largest insurance market, Birmingham continues to benefit from a thriving professional services sector – which contributes over £3bn to the local economy. Furthermore, the unprecedented rise of new enterprises throughout the region continues to boost the city’s reputation as a central hub for innovation and long-term professional prospects.

Recent years have seen huge levels of investment towards developing Birmingham’s transport infrastructure, upskilling the local workforce and supporting the growth ambitions of businesses. This ongoing transformation of the city’s infrastructure and workforce continues to demonstrate how Birmingham is a highly attractive place for companies to set up shop and develop – generating more job opportunities for professionals in the process.

Looking ahead - Where Search fits in!

According to research published in the Birmingham Skills Investment Plan, ‘business professionals’ is among the list of occupations with the highest number of vacancies posted online for the region. The report also states that Business and financial services will be the sectors with the largest number of job openings going forward, with an estimated 19,000 new jobs to be filled in Birmingham by 2022, and 71,000 jobs to replace workers who are retiring or leaving the labour market.

Although there is certainly a high demand for candidates in various professional services sectors including accountancy, financial services and marketing, finding individuals with the appropriate skills and qualifications is a major challenge among all employers, from local SMEs to international firms.

Given the significant demand for talent throughout the West Midlands, Search Consultancy officially expanded its Professional Services arm to Birmingham last year. Since then we have continued to support a wide range of professional services practices aiming to develop their businesses, as well as professional candidates looking to start or advance their careers.

In addition to supporting local business growth and career development, we also have a strong commitment to the community at large. We have demonstrated our commitment through various initiatives, including sponsorship of the IAAF World Indoor Championships Birmingham 2018volunteer programme, where over 750 volunteers have been recruited to support the event in areas including media services, accreditation, transport and protocol.

Through using our expertise and resources to support regional business and community development, we continuously aim to be a driving force behind regeneration in Birmingham, knowing full well that a strong economy will ultimately lead to a wider range of commercial and employment opportunities throughout the West Midlands.

Looking for a job in Professional Services?

Are you a professional accountant who is contemplating a move to Birmingham? At Search, we recruit for a number of roles within Professional Services, including Accountancy & Finance, HR, Legal and Financial Services contact us today to find out more.