BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its own employees, are responsible for supporting nearly 16,000 jobs in Yorkshire and The Humber, according to an independent report published today.
The Economic Impact of BT Group plc in the UK report, by consultancy firm Hatch, calculates that the communications and technology company generated more than £24 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy during the last financial year, including £1.3 billion in Yorkshire and The Humber alone.
The report estimates that around 15,800 full-time jobs in Yorkshire and The Humber are supported by BT Group through direct, indirect and induced effects. The firm also spent £424m with suppliers based in the region, including those in the manufacturing, construction and telecommunications industries.
BT Group has broadband and mobile networks spanning from the Scilly Isles to Shetland, built and maintained by some of the 82,800 direct employees it has in the UK. In Yorkshire and The Humber, the firm directly employs 6,160 people, with a further 500 employed as contractors.
The company is currently modernising its business, including investing in the UK’s largest workplace consolidation and modernisation programme, as it moves from 300 locations to around 30 as part of its Better Workplace programme. The major refurbishment of BT’s Doncaster Contact Centre is nearing completion, and the company also plans to open a new HQ in London later in 2021. New strategic hub locations will open in places such as Bristol and Manchester, providing future-fit workplaces of the future for thousands of colleagues.
Liz Needleman, BT Group regional lead for the North of England, said: “I’m immensely proud of the contribution our colleagues make in supporting the Yorkshire and The Humber economy.
“At an important time for our region, our spending on people, networks and suppliers, provides a vital economic boost. The wider impact of that spending helps to sustain communities and small businesses right across the region.
“In the past year, having good connectivity has become more important than ever as we’ve all had to work, learn, and spend more leisure time online.
“Despite these challenges, our dedicated and determined colleagues have ensured EE’s 5G network has been extended to cover 125 towns and cities, including 15 in Yorkshire and The Humber; built out Openreach’s full-fibre networks to reach 4.1 million premises; and EE’s 4G network now reaches 85 per cent of the UK. I know these significant investments will help to underpin the country’s economic recovery post-Covid.”
Employees from across BT Group, which includes Openreach, EE and Plusnet, have played a key role in keeping the country connected during the pandemic. The company has provided critical support to the NHS, SMEs via its Small Business Support Scheme and school children by providing unlimited broadband data, free mobile data and access to learning resources for customers.
BT’s Consumer contact centres now handle 100 per cent of customer calls in the UK, at centres such as Doncaster. Since customer service for BT, EE and Plusnet customers was brought back to the UK and Ireland last year, more than 34 million calls have been handled.
Beckie Hart, CBI Yorkshire and The Humber Director, said: “BT is a major employer in Yorkshire and The Humber and has a big impact on the economy and jobs. It is good news to see this significant presence continuing.
“BT Group’s investment in the region not only means a boost to local economies, but also to skills and high-quality jobs, including recruiting apprentices and graduates. BT’s investment in the fastest networks and latest technology is also vital for the country. Being connected is essential for our businesses, for boosting productivity and for improving quality of life in all our communities.”
Tim Fanning, director at Hatch, said: “Our analysis underlines how vast BT Group’s contribution is to the UK economy as a whole as well as to individual communities in the nations and regions. Its presence across the country generates significant further activity and investment, supporting many thousands of jobs.”