Communications provider KCOM generates almost 1,600 local jobs and delivers a £187m boost to the economy in Hull and East Yorkshire, according to a new report.
The figures are significantly higher than in previous research and demonstrate the substantial impact KCOM has on the local economy through direct and indirect employment and spending with local suppliers.
The report, “The Economic Impact of KCOM in Hull”, by commercial real estate services, research and consulting firm Cushman & Wakefield, found KCOM’s operations support almost 1,600 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs in Hull and East Yorkshire with a total value to the local economy of £187m.
The report found KCOM employs 1,011 people (937 FTEs) in its Hull and East Yorkshire operations, including permanent contractors. Of these, 944 (871 FTEs) live in Hull or East Yorkshire, indicating the significant extent to which KCOM operations draw upon a local workforce.
KCOM spends £14.3m with suppliers to support its activities in Hull and East Yorkshire, well over 50 per cent of which is with companies based in the region. This supports a further 170 FTE jobs.
In addition, the report finds spending by KCOM employees and those of its suppliers supports 485 more FTE jobs in Hull and East Yorkshire.
The report shows a substantial increase in economic impact since the last in-depth research in 2010. At that time the company was found to generate £150m for the local economy and underpin more than 1,400 FTE jobs.
Gary Young, who heads up KCOM’s operations in Hull and East Yorkshire, said: “This report confirms the positive impact we have on the local economy and the lives of people across Hull and East Yorkshire.
“As a business founded in Hull and a mainstay of the local economy for many decades, we are proud that we make such a significant and growing contribution to local employment and economic wellbeing.”
The analysis of KCOM’s operations in the year ended 31 March 2015 concludes the company is more closely integrated economically into the community than other employers, due to its largely local workforce and the high proportion of total procurement that is with Hull-based suppliers.
Other key findings of the research include:
- KCOM’s work-based employment impact equates to 1.3 per cent of overall employment in Hull, equivalent to the city’s legal and accounting sector.
- More than nine out of 10 people either directly employed or supported in KCOM’s local supply chain are Hull or East Yorkshire residents, meaning most of their income is spent locally.
- 80 per cent of KCOM employees in Hull are in full-time posts – significantly higher than the local average across all sectors of 66 per cent.
- The total contribution of £187m that KCOM generates for the local economy includes around £90m of local annual Gross Added Value (GVA*) contribution. This represents around 2 per cent of the local GVA for Hull and reflects the significant added value of KCOM to the local economy.
Mr Young added: “Our core contribution comes from being one of the area’s biggest employers, with a workforce of around 1,000 people. Almost all of these live locally and spend much of their income in local shops and businesses.
“In addition, we are passionate about supporting local companies and using suppliers based in the region wherever possible. Our ‘buy local’ policy means we support hundreds more local jobs and contribute significantly to the success and growth of many Hull and East Yorkshire businesses.
“The benefits we bring to the region’s economy and wider community are a great source of pride for the company and our people.”
KCOM’s commitment to supporting local employment through its supply chain is illustrated by the economic impact of Light Source, an industry leader in building, managing and maintaining fibre-optic networks. For the past four years Light Source has worked with KCOM to plan and deliver the company’s ultrafast fibre broadband rollout across Hull and East Yorkshire.
Although the company has its headquarters in Nottingham, Light Source employs 60 staff in Hull, most of them in a variety of installation and engineering roles. This workforce is growing continually due to the acceleration of KCOM’s Lightstream programme.
Managing director Steve Hill said Light Source Injects around £1.5m annually into the local economy through direct employment, payments to sub-contractors, buying services and materials, sponsorship and other expenditure – all as a result of its work for KCOM.
“We’re not shipping people from Nottingham to Hull to work with KCOM and we’re certainly not shipping income from Hull to Nottingham. The money stays in the local economy,” he said.
“Right from the start of our relationship with KCOM on the fibre-to-the-premises rollout we made a commitment to invest in the local area. We have recruited locally and trained new staff who had no previous telecoms experience and put them through various accreditations.
“We have also worked with the Department of Work and Pensions to employ a number of people who were previously unemployed and with the Ministry of Defence to hire several former service personnel with relevant skills and experience.”
The report also notes how enhanced broadband connectivity through the KCOM’s Lightstream fibre network rollout promotes economic and business growth. Hull is the only city in the UK where ultrafast broadband, delivered directly to homes and businesses via fibre cables, is being made available as standard.
KCOM is investing tens of millions of pounds to make more local homes and businesses the best-connected in the UK.
For residents, this means they benefit from access to employment and training opportunities, can save money through buying goods and services online and have improved quality of life. In terms of businesses, the ultrafast broadband rollout delivers increased productivity for existing companies and enhanced attractiveness of the area as a location for inward investment.