The UK government categorises this sector as:

  • Legal activities
  • Accounting, bookkeeping and auditing
  • Activities of head offices
  • Management consultancy
  • Architectural and engineering activities; technical testing and analysis
  • Scientific research and development
  • Advertising and market research
  • Other professional, scientific and technical activities
  • Rental and leasing activities
  • Employment activities
  • Office administrative, office support and other business support activities  

According to PWC, the sector accounts for 15% of UK GDP, 14% of employment and 14% of exports.  

By Sub-Sector  


There are three distinct legal jurisdictions in the UK: England and Wales, Northern Ireland, and Scotland. Each has its own legal system, distinct history, and origins. The City UK reports:  

  • At the latest count, the legal sector generates £22.6 billion, or 1.6%, of the UK’s gross domestic product and directly employs over 300,000 people
  • After a period of moderate growth during adverse economic conditions, turnover of law firms in the UK increased by 8.4% in 2013 to a record £30.6 billion
  • Three of the largest five law firms in the world (based on headcount) have their main base of operations in the UK
  • Law firms in Scotland employ over 11,000 staff  

Business Process Outsourcing (BPO)  

In Scotland, the sector employs over 86,000 people within 400 BPOs. The sector has grown by 30,000 employees, or 54% since 2003[1]. Further information on the business services sector (wider) can be found at:  


Total membership of the accountancy bodies continues to grow steadily. The seven bodies included in the 2015 FRC report have over 335,000 members in the UK and ROI, and over 485,000 members worldwide. The number of registered audit firms continues to decline gradually, reducing by 4.9% between 31 December 2013 and 2014.  

For information on other business services, please see: Please see also the UK Accountancy Industry Fact Sheet.