This is why London is more business friendly than New York

London hosts 40% of European headquarters of the world's top companies. New York is home is to 25% of North American equivalents.

by Elizabeth Anderson
Last Updated: 07 Apr 2014

Of the 250 biggest companies in the world with a European HQ, two in five have bases in London. That compares to just 8% in Paris, 3% in Madrid, and 2.5% in Amsterdam and Brussels respectively.

London is also the chosen centre for 60% of the non-European companies in the top 250 that have their regional headquarters in Europe.

The research by Deloitte suggests that London has a more powerful status than New York has in North America, as the Big Apple is home to just 25% of North American regional headquarters of the top 250 companies.

London also beats New York when it comes to skills. London employs 47% of all highly-skilled workers across Europe’s five biggest cities. In contrast, New York employs 31% of the total in the North American equivalents.

‘The city is more central to the economy of Europe than New York is to the economy of North America and continues to attract the largest proportion of high-skilled talent,’ Angus Knowles-Cutler, London senior partner at Deloitte, said.

So why is London so attractive to global companies? Businesses say London’s access to skilled talent from abroad, security and personal safety, the environment, its geographical location and some aspects of infrastructure are the main reasons.

London has also weathered the global downturn fairly well. By 2020, at least 300,000 new jobs will be created in the UK capital, of which at least 100,000 will be in high-skill sectors.

Who chooses to establish their HQs in London?











South Korea




United States


London’s link to the continent is another advantage. When it comes to the European Union, companies are overwhelmingly in favour of the UK remaining a member. In a recent London Boardroom Barometer survey, also by Deloitte, more than 80% of firms wanted to stay in the EU, compared to just 7% which wanted the UK to leave.

However, Deloitte warned that London faces challenges in maintaining its position. Ageing infrastructure and the lack of affordable housing are the mains areas of concern. The report recommends improvements to infrastructure and housing, better business links with education and an ‘intelligent’ visa system which will allow SMEs to hire skilled people more freely.

It also suggested the appointment of a ‘chief talent officer’ for London who can champion London’s needs.

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