Businesses in Herefordshire: size and industry

The following summary looks at the population of businesses in Herefordshire, including it’s characteristics in terms of size (employee number) and industry.  Please see business demography page for information about start-up and closures and survival rates.

The most detailed counts of business come from UK business counts data set, which is based on an extract compiled from the Inter Departmental Business Register (IDBR).  Businesses are either counted at an enterprise or local unit level:

  • An enterprise can be thought of as the overall business, made up of all the individual sites or workplaces. It is defined as the smallest combination of legal units (generally based on VAT and/or PAYE records) that has a certain degree of autonomy within an enterprise group.
  • A local unit is an individual site (for example a factory or shop) associated with an enterprise. It can also be referred to as a workplace.  Most businesses will only be counted once as an enterprise and once as a local unit i.e. they operate from a single site.
  • As with nationally the vast majority of businesses in the county are small.  Business (local units) with fewer than 10 employees accounted for 86% of all businesses (85% across the Marches Local Enterprise Partnership and 83% across England).  Although businesses with more than 10 or more employees accounted for just 14% of all businesses the number of people in employment in them accounted for 79% of all employment in the county in 20121 (see table below).

Table 1. Number of enterprises and local units by size (employee number) 2013
Table 1. Number of enterprises and local units by size (employee number) 2013
Source: UK business counts and 2. Business Register and Employment Survey. Figures marked ! have been removed to avoid the identification of individual businesses

Size of business by industry and legal status

The industries with the greatest number of small business are ‘information and communication’, agriculture’, ‘construction’, ‘professional, scientific and technical’ and ‘real estate’ – all had more than 90% of businesses with fewer than ten employees.  On the other hand ‘human health and social work’ and ‘education’ were the industries with fewest small businesses – both had less than 50% with fewer than ten employees.

As might be expected public sector organisations are generally larger in size than private sector organisations (see chart 2 below).  Within the private sector ‘not-profit body or mutual associations’ and ‘companies’ had the greatest proportion of larger businesses, whilst ‘partnerships’ and ‘sole proprietors’ were generally smaller.

Chart 1. Proportion of businesses (local units) in Herefordshire by employment size band and industry 2013
Chart 1. Proportion of businesses (local units) in Herefordshire by employment size band and industry 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics

Chart 2. Proportion of businesses (local units) in Herefordshire by employment size band and legal status 2013
Chart 2. Proportion of businesses (local units) in Herefordshire by employment size band and legal status 2013
Source: Office for National Statistics



1 Source: Business Register and Employment Survey

Last updated: 26 March 2014