6 March, 2009
More of the Manchester City Region's (MCR) population are employed in the knowledge based industries of financial and business services, such as legal services, than ever before, confirms the latest report issued as part of the Manchester Independent Economic Review (MIER).
The report, Understanding Labour Markets, Skills and Talent, cites a 120% increase in employment in this sector since 1981. There has also been a 49% increase in the number of people employed in information, communication and technology.
These increases, coupled with a 54% reduction in the number of people employed in manufacturing, has transformed the economic landscape of the city-region and the opportunities available for graduates and local communities.
As people embrace these new job opportunities there is also evidence to suggest people are up-skilling to match new requirements, with a 5% increase in the number of local people qualified to degree level or above in the past five years.
MCR has particularly high concentrations of Knowledge Based Industries employment (when compared to comparator city regions outside London) in the ICT, Business Services and Public Sector. Furthermore, Manchester has a greater proportion of its workforce employed in knowledge based manufacturing than London and all other comparator cities, but it is recognised that skills gaps do still exist in this industry, and others, such as the public sector.
Employment in KBIs has had an impact across the city-region, but predominantly in the centre and areas to the south, as private sector investment has congregated where greater levels of high-skilled workers reside. This signals that the development of MCR’s infrastructure is vital to ensuring strong gains are replicated and built upon across the region, thereby improving the skill base and density of the labour markets.
The report reveals the city-region regularly out-performs its competitor cities with regards to offering high-skilled jobs; retaining and providing the talent required to fill those jobs; retaining graduates from local universities and providing the necessary skills support and training suited to the job opportunities available in the region.
However, the transformation of the city-region’s economy has wide-ranging implications for policy makers if Manchester is to continue to remain the dominant economic force outside of London and the South East.
Particular examples of this economic transformation include:
- Within ICT, growth has centred on the core employment area of the city-region, Manchester, and in locations along the M56 and M62, with Warrington having seen significant growth in employment over the period
- In the business services sector, employment growth has been particularly strong in the core employment area of Manchester, Salford Quays and Trafford, along with Warrington and Stockport. The development of out of town business parks has also underpinned growth in this sector.
- Financial services employment has expanded most strongly in Salford, Trafford and Vale Royal. The latter reflects the development of business premises in the Northwich area which now house a small number of financial services operations.
- The creative and media sector remains concentrated in the core employment area (particularly Manchester and Salford), and is set to see significant expansion through the development of MediaCityUK at Salford Quays.
- For the most part, public sector employment has expanded in locations across the city-region, reflecting the sustained period of investment in public services during the 2000’s. The increases in this sector are strongly associated with both population growth and higher levels of expenditure on public services nationally.
Barbara Spicer, chief executive of Salford City Council, said: “This report highlights how the city region’s economy has transformed over the last 25 years. What it has also identified is the specific areas within the conurbation that have performed well and in what industry sector that success has been achieved.
“What’s important now is to ensure there is a skills base in place to fuel success in areas that are yet to see such benefit, so that the full productivity and potential of the ‘new-look’ city-region can be realised.
“This can be most easily addressed by a long-term partnership between public, private, educational and community stakeholders.”
This report is part of the Manchester Independent Economic Review, the largest independent economic review to be conducted by a city-region in Europe.