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Employment change in independent owner-managed high-technology firms in Great Britain


There is a growing volume of literature that points to the potential for small technology-based firms to achieve substantial employment growth. As a direct consequence of such work this sector of any economy has attracted increasing attention from national and local Governments concerned with finding ways of revitalising economically deprived localities and creating employment opportunities. This paper provides up-to-date empirical evidence surrounding the ability of small high-technology firms to create additional jobs in Great Britain. In addition, key founder and business characteristics are isolated which are significantly associated with employment change in growing high-technology firms over the 1986 to 1992 period. With respect to factors influencing these high levels of employment growth, a high firm size (in 1986) was found to act positively on employment growth, as was a graduate level education for the key founder. On the finance side firms which had access to and used a multiplicity of sources of start-up finance tended to grow faster. Futher, on the basis of our results we would suggest (and recommend) a Government policy which at the firm level actively encourages high-technology firm start-ups (who record higher rates of survival than firms in more ‘conventional’ sectors) as well as providing support for existing high-technology firms who have already demonstrated the inclination and ability to grow in employment size.

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Westhead, P., Cowling, M. Employment change in independent owner-managed high-technology firms in Great Britain. Small Bus Econ 7, 111–140 (1995). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01108686

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Key words

  • Employment growth
  • high-technology
  • small firms
  • policy implications