Navigating a changing economic landscape: Worcester’s service industry’s story

Key takeaways

  • The number of commercial cleaning companies, facility management companies and digital marketing agencies in Worcester’s service industry are all increasing. 
  • The number of digital marketing agencies is increasing the most, followed by cleaning companies. 
  • The growth of companies serving other businesses suggests that Worcester’s economy is growing and that it is seen as a good place to establish a business. 

The service industry: writing their own hopeful narrative

On the whole, Worcester is a great place to be, having been recently declared as ‘one of the happiest places to live in the UK’. Perhaps with this lure, many have also made it their business home.

But how wise a decision is that really?

Is business really booming in Worcester?

To determine this we will focus this article on three specific industries in the city, taking a look at a variety of service providers to other businesses: cleaning companies, facilities managers and digital marketing agencies. 

Such businesses are widely believed to be a good indicator of the economic buoyancy of the wider business landscape throughout the city, as most companies require some form of cleaning, property management and marketing. Logic dictates that if these types of B2B companies are thriving, then there are plenty of businesses in the local area. 

Resilience in hard times: a global downturn

Before we look at Worcester’s prospects it is important to acknowledge the broader picture. 

Ok, here comes the gloom! 

Worldwide, businesses have been impacted by a difficult global economic downturn. 

This global slump was summed up by the latest Worcestershire Economy Report (2023), claiming, “The global economic outlook for 2023 is among the weakest in decades…Several challenges persist for businesses in the wake of the pandemic, with higher interest rates, rising inflation and energy costs continuing to take their toll on the economy.”  

Thankfully, a recent local Economic Survey looks a lot more optimistic, with fewer local businesses reporting inflation as a cause of concern as ‘turnover has increased to 44% from 41%. Confidence in yearly profitability has also increased to 33% this quarter from 29% in the second quarter.” 

This shows that local business owners are feeling more upbeat, which is very welcome news for Worcester and beyond.

The cleaning industry

In a survey of cleaning companies providing commercial cleaning in Worcester, we identified numerous long-established companies. 

Here is the graph showing the cumulative number of commercial cleaning companies founded in Worcester, UK, over time. Each point on the graph represents the founding of a new company, and the line shows the total number of companies established up to that year. 

As you can see, the number of cleaning companies has increased over time, particularly with a notable increase in recent years.

What is more exciting though, is that in 2023 alone, at least two cleaning companies have been incorporated to meet the increase in demand.

As businesses in Worcester recalibrated their operations post-pandemic, their demand for a professional office cleaning company soared. It seems that commercial office cleaning services have become indispensable partners in creating and maintaining sanitised work environments.

During the global pandemic, these services went beyond routine cleaning, implementing rigorous protocols for high-touch surfaces, regular sanitisation of communal areas and periodic deep cleaning, allowing businesses to survive. 

The meticulous attention to hygiene given by a professional office cleaner continues to instil confidence among employees returning to the workplace, reinforcing the perception that businesses in Worcester prioritise their welfare and helping firms to return to business as usual

It is clear that the pandemic underscored the importance of maintaining a clean and hygienic workspace, but is that the only reason for growth? 

Innovations in cleaning technologies

It seems that Worcester’s commercial cleaning industry is no longer relying solely on traditional cleaning methods. 

By adapting to clients’ needs, innovative commercial cleaning businesses are able to cater for the specific needs of clients, even where bespoke solutions are required. 

From providing eco-friendly services for environmentally conscious clients to delivering appropriate bespoke solutions for unique needs, such as providing cleaning schedules suitable for neurodiverse students– cleaning companies in Worcester are adapting to the changing needs of the modern workspace with creativity and ingenuity.

So, could it be that this growth is exclusive to the cleaning industry, as the importance of hygiene has been heightened and innovative, bespoke solutions are being sought? 

Or is there an increased demand for business-to-business services in general, indicating the buoyancy of businesses in Worcester as a whole?

To answer these questions, we need to look at other business-to-business service providers to see if this is indeed a wider trend.

The facilities management industry

Facilities management companies, that identify as such, are perhaps not so numerous in Worcester. Here you can see their growth. 

Yet a small handful seem to have emerged as strategic partners for businesses navigating the complexities of a changing work landscape and enouragingly half of these have been incorporated within the last 4 years. 

Enterprises under other categories also include the role of facilities management within their services, so this is a sector that is in demand. 

But it’s not just about the quantity of businesses, it’s about the quality of their services. 

So, just how well are these facilities management enterprises serving The Faithful City?

Adapting to current working trends

With remote and hybrid work models becoming commonplace, facilities management services are at the forefront of reimagining physical workspaces. 

One local facilities management company covering the Worcester area sets out to better facilitate hybrid working for its clients, acknowledging that ‘with hybrid working the norm, hot desking is a popular method of working and so office space should be clean for everyone that uses it.’

The challenge to respond to the UK’s 2050 target of becoming net zero is also being tackled. The commitment to sustainability that permeates Worcester has also extended to the practices of facilities management companies. Two companies lead the way by implementing their environmentally conscious policies. 

Oakland, which serves the city, declares its aims are ‘to make our customers buildings…energy efficient and compliant’ and Waste Efficiency, which is based in the city, strives to deliver ’sustainability-led solutions’

These types of responses to current working trends show that businesses in Worcester are once again at the cutting edge of the evolving needs of businesses and are progressively aligned with global demands and targets.

It seems there has been a growth in demand for facilities management in Worcester recently. The fact that the sector is keeping up with the times by tackling the challenges head-on, and overcoming them, bodes well for the aims to achieve a buoyant economy in Worcester.

How about the final business?

The digital marketing industry

In a survey (Jan 2022) carried out among UK marketing leaders, it was found that digital marketing spending was expected to increase by almost 30% from one year to the next, This is very much reflected in the sheer amount of digital marketing companies in Worcester- there are over 60 web design companies based in the city. 

Many are small businesses that are not incorporated, but Companies House reveals that more Digital Marketing companies are being incorporated over time.

Here is the graph displaying the cumulative number of digital marketing agencies founded in Worcester, UK, from 1999 to 2022. The graph shows a clear trend of increasing numbers of agencies over time, with each point representing the total number of agencies established up to that year. 

This burgeoning landscape of digital marketing companies reflects more than just a shift in advertising trends. It mirrors the pulse of the local economy in Worcester, indicating its vibrancy and dynamism.

In recognition of the impact that these digital marketing companies have on the health of the local economy, Worcestershire County Council has even taken on the responsibility of providing free online guidance and advice to local businesses. With funding from the European Regional Development Fund, the online resource aims to inform local businesses on how to grow through embedding digital solutions, including digital marketing. 

These marketing agencies in Worcester often cater not only to local needs but also expand their services globally, becoming ambassadors of the area’s innovation and potential. 

As the whole community evolves into a tech-savvy hub, the existence of these firms may present increased business activity, job opportunities, and entrepreneurial ventures. Their presence signifies a demand for digital expertise, indicating a thriving market within the Worcester community like others worldwide.

Worcester’s economic tapestry unfurls in difficult times

The steady pre-pandemic growth in Worcester is showing signs of picking up and being translated into the kind of resilience that may pave the way to a new period of growth in the coming years. 

From digital services to the critical role played by office cleaning and facilities management in redefining workspaces, the collaborative spirit of these service industries, intertwined and mutually reinforcing, exemplifies a city that is rebounding from challenges and turning to a future of prosperity and innovation. 

The economic resilience of Worcester, led by its services industry, can be seen as a harbinger of hope for other UK cities navigating the complexities of a post-pandemic world.