BT adds £1.5 billion to West Midlands economy and supports more than 21,000 jobs, according to independent report

BT's new office at Three Snowhill

BT Group, its spend with contractors and suppliers, and the spending power of its employees, are responsible for supporting more than 21,000 jobs in the West Midlands, according to an independent report published today.  

The Economic Impact of BT Group 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 £1.5 billion in the West Midlands alone. 

The report estimates that around 21,700 full-time jobs in the West Midlands are supported by BT Group through direct, indirect and induced effects. The firm also spent 636 million with suppliers based in the West Midlands, including those in the retail, 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 the West Midlands, the firm directly employs 5,470 people, with a further 600 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 firm plans to move into a brand-new regional hub at Three Snowhill, Birmingham, this year, and 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. 

Last week BT unveiled plans to recruit 51 apprentices and graduates in Birmingham for its September 2021 intake. Meanwhile, Openreach, the digital network business, part of BT Group, announced in December that it would create 160 new full time engineering roles across the West Midlands this year.

Wendy Sycamore, BT Group regional lead for the Midlands, said: “I’m immensely proud of the contribution our colleagues make in supporting the West Midlands 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 Midlands.  

“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 17 in the West Midlands, built out Openreach’s full-fibre network 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% of customer calls in the UK, at centres from Stoke to West Bromwich. 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. 

Richard Butler, CBI West Midlands Director, said: “BT is a major employer in the Midlands 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.”

Summary of results for year 2019/20:

82,800 employees directly working for BT Group in the UK, and 10,600 contractors (Full Time Equivalent – FTE)

300,000 total FTE jobs supported (including indirect and induced effects)

£3.4 billion total income of BT Group employees (including contractors)

£10.1 billion spend with suppliers based in the UK

£24 billion total GVA impact associated with BT Group activities (including indirect and induced effects)

BT Group directly employed 1 in every 230 employees in the private sector across the UK, and 1 in every 12 in the IT and Communications sector

BT Group directly created £1 in every £165 of GVA in the UK

As a result of the full economic impact of BT Group, the firm supported £1 in every £75 of GVA in the UK economy and 1 in every 90 employees working in the UK economy


About BT

BT Group is the UK’s leading telecommunications and network provider and a leading provider of global communications services and solutions, serving customers in 180 countries. Its principal activities in the UK include the provision of fixed voice, mobile, broadband and TV (including Sport) and a range of products and services over converged fixed and mobile networks to consumer, business and public sector customers. For its global customers, BT provides managed services, security and network and IT infrastructure services to support their operations all over the world. BT consists of four customer-facing units: Consumer, Enterprise, Global and its wholly-owned subsidiary, Openreach, which provides access network services to over 650 communications provider customers who sell phone, broadband and Ethernet services to homes and businesses across the UK.

For the year ended 31 March 2020, BT Group’s reported revenue was £22,905m with reported profit before taxation of £2,353m.

British Telecommunications plc is a wholly-owned subsidiary of BT Group plc and encompasses virtually all businesses and assets of the BT Group. BT Group plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange.

For more information, visit www.bt.com/about.