New strategy to maintain success of professional and business services in UK

Access to a diverse, highly skilled workforce and increasing exports to emerging markets are the two key areas where the UK can improve to strengthen its position as a global leader in professional and business services (PBS), according to a new industrial strategy.

Produced in partnership by Government and businesses in areas like advertising, accountancy, legal services, management consultancy and recruitment, the strategy is the Government's latest step to ensure the future strength of the industry.

The sector is one of the UK's foremost success stories, employing four million people and worth more than 150 billion to the nation's economy, contributing 11% of GDP.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said the new strategy is essential to maintaining the industry's high level of performance.

"The professional and business services sector has been growing at 4% for the last decade and we need to ensure this growth is sustained in the long-term," he commented.

"The Government will provide support to make sure the sector has the skilled people it needs so that we can keep this success story going."

Actions to help provide a diverse highly skilled workforce include trebling the number of Higher Apprenticeships available to businesses, such as law, accountancy, consultancy and marketing firms, to 10,000 a year over the next five years.

Up until now, the talent pool for businesses has predominantly been reliant on graduates. It is expected that over the next decade, 600,000 additional jobs will be available in the PBS sector.

In addition, a new network of senior business envoys will champion UK capabilities and trade opportunities when overseas.

Trade missions will also be arranged specifically for PBS by UK Trade & Investment, enabling the nation to build on its current position as an international hub of PBS firms.

In 2011, the sector was responsible for 10% of all UK exports, equating to 47 billion. The government hopes the new industrial strategy will help add to this, providing the economy with a greater source of income.

Copyright Press Association 2013