Access to a large collection of business microdata

The UK Data Service provides access to a large collection of business microdata, provided by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). These data are relatively identifiable, and should therefore be accessed through the SecureLab route.

The data are collected through a wide range of surveys and some administrative sources. The areas they cover include:

  • productivity
  • innovation
  • workforce skills
  • earnings
  • international trade
  • foreign direct investment
  • research and development
  • business demography
  • industrial relations.

Almost all of the data are collected using the sampling frame of the Inter-Departmental Business Register. It is therefore possible to combine data for the same company from two or more surveys, increasing the range of research and hypotheses that can be tested.

Unlike business microdata that can be downloaded (such as from Companies House), these data are more detailed and, as they are collected under the Statistics of Trade Act 1947, can only be accessed in a secure setting to ensure confidentiality.

Some of the key studies providing business microdata are listed below.