Swedish Businesses in the UK
View of Edinburgh in Scotland.
The United Kingdom is one of Sweden's most important trading partners, and in 2022 we saw trade returning to pre-Brexit levels. During the first two quarters of 2022, Swedish goods and services were exported to the UK to a value of SEK104.5bn. In the same period, Sweden imported goods and services from the UK to a total value of SEK102.5bn (Source: SCB).
As the UK’s 8th largest investor, before countries such as Ireland, Japan and Switzerland, and creating 1,716 new UK jobs in 2021 alone, Sweden’s business footprint in the UK is of significant size (Source: DIT).
View of Belfast's Titanic Quarter in Northern Ireland.
Optimism amongst Swedish businesses in the UK
Today, there are more than 1,000 Swedish businesses operating in the UK, and despite the challenges brought on by Brexit, COVID and rising inflation, previous studies show that most Swedish businesses have an optimistic outlook for the UK market.
The Global Business Climate Survey 2022 shows strong signs of a growing optimism among Swedish businesses operating outside of Sweden, not least in the UK. According to the report, 66% of the Swedish companies in the UK are planning to increase their investments in the coming 12 months. 29% of these are planning to increase investments "significantly", which is more than any other market included in the survey.
The regions: 1. North East England | 2. North West England | 3. Yorkshire and The Humber | 4. East Midlands England | 5. West Midlands England
6. East of England | 7. London | 8. South East England | 9. South West England | 10. Scotland | 11. Wales | 12. Northern Ireland
The UK and its regions
The United Kingdom (UK) is made up of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. England is divided in 9 regions, spanning from North East to South West England.
UK's capital, London, is among the world’s leading commercial, financial, and cultural centres. Other major cities include Birmingham, Liverpool, and Manchester in England, Belfast and Londonderry in Northern Ireland, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland, and Swansea and Cardiff in Wales.
As part of the government’s devolution agenda, various powers and budgets have been devolved to mayoral combined authorities (MCA), led by so called Metro Mayors and formed of the leaders of all the councils in the region.
South East England is the UK's largest region by population (9.2m), with Brighton and Hove being the region's largest city.
Bridging the regional gaps
With a population of 67.2m, among the biggest in Europe, the UK has a working age population of £41.5m, and an overall unemployment rate of 3.8%. Peaking in North East England, with 4.7%, and lowest in South West, at 2.7%, the rates are implying there is a significant difference in opportunities depending on where you live or grow up.
Both politicians and other local stakeholders have been taking measures as a response to these regional inequalities. By evening out opportunities and support, the aim has been to reduce the gap between the rich and poor parts of the country, by spreading out jobs and investments, and improving education and infrastructure.
Meet some of the largest Swedish employers in the UK
Swedish businesses have been present in the United Kingdom for centuries and contribute to the UK economy and society through investments, innovation, people culture and not least through the thousands of job opportunities created. Meet H&M, IKEA and Securitas - three of the largest Swedish employers in the UK.
Employing over 12,100 and with close to 300 stores across the UK, retail giant H&M, including brands such as H&M Home, & Other Stories, COS and Arket, is the largest Swedish employer in the UK.
With nearly 10,800 employees, self-assembly innovator IKEA, is the second largest Swedish employer in the UK. The UK presence includes 21 stores, two collection points, and a wind farm in Dummuies, Scotland.
With more than 8,100 employees, Securitas is one of the largest security companies in the UK. Securitas UK was recognised as a Top Employer 2021 for its commitment to delivering exceptional people management and HR strategies.
See how Swedish businesses support regional growth in the UK
We asked 87 Swedish businesses about their regional presence in the UK with regards to location of branches and sites, staffing and future investments in their operations.
Together, the 87 businesses employ 78,616 people across the UK. With a considerable presence across all regions, most jobs are evenly distributed between London, North West and South East England.
Within the next five years, the Swedish businesses plan to create almost 9,000 new jobs in the UK. This is an addition of 11.5% job opportunities, compared to current employment base.