Leeds City Region IT sector forecast to grow nearly four times as fast as overall economy

  • High skilled jobs projected to grow three times as quickly as average rate for all jobs with net growth of 71,000 over next decade
  • 19% of employers offering apprenticeships, higher than the national average.
  • Rapid growth of 25% in advanced apprenticeship start

New labour market research conducted by the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership (LEP) confirms the information technology sector has one of the fastest forecast rates of growth of around 15% or 4,000 additional jobs in Leeds City Region over the next decade.

Digital skills will be in especially high demand according to the research, not exclusively within the information technology sector but across the full labour market.

The LEP’s labour market analysis, published today, provides a comprehensive assessment of the skills needs across Leeds City Region based on the supply and demand of skills together with evidence of mismatch and market failures.

The report highlights that high-skilled jobs will continue to be the area of strongest demand across the region with levels of employment in high-skilled management, professional and associate professional occupations projected to grow three times as quickly as the average for all jobs over the next 10 years. This marks a positive step for the regional economy, further enhancing the region’s strong digital, advanced manufacturing and financial and professional services sectors.

The City Region performs well on apprenticeship take-up in comparison to other parts of the country. In 2014/15 it had the fourth highest level of starts on the programme of any LEP area. In addition, 19% of employers offer apprenticeships, higher than the national average. Rapid annual growth of 25% has been felt by advanced apprenticeships with higher apprenticeship starts doubling. Further growth is needed to ensure the region continues to improve and regain the levels of take up felt in 2011/12. The LEP is working with businesses to demonstrate the benefits of taking on an apprentice as well as partnering with schools to better inform young people about the exciting careers that they can have via apprenticeships.

The report also highlights some of the skills challenges facing the City Region including the widening prosperity gap. Although the labour force is becoming better qualified, a quarter of the adult population in the City Region have no qualifications or are qualified at a low level. Through the skills service, the LEP is supporting businesses to invest in training, upskill their staff and address skills shortages.*

The LEP and partners use the labour market research to identify where the demand and supply of jobs will be in the future and shape activity and investment decisions to match. It also helps inform careers advice for schools and shape future courses and learning opportunities within HE and FE institutions.

Cllr Susan Hinchliffe, Leader of Bradford Council and Skills Lead for the LEP said:

“This research is so important to our employment and skills activity at a City Region level as it encourages us to look at which industries we expect to generate the future jobs and what we can do now to invest in the skills pipeline.

“Despite making great progress at raising the bar on higher level skills at a City Region level, we still have some way to go to address the skills imbalance. We are continuing to work with all partners to utilise the devolved funding we have secured and deliver activity at a local level that is making a difference. With our ongoing devolution discussions with government, we will continue to bang the drum for further investment in skills support to achieve good growth for all.”

Stephanie Burras, Chair of the LEP’s Employment and Skills Panel said:

“What is evident from this research is the ‘personal effectiveness’ or transferable skills such as building relationships, organisation and good communications skills are of key importance across all sectors as well as advanced and technical skills. We know that businesses need employees who can not only excel at their day to day activities, but connect well with colleagues and clients and manage their time effectively.

“The LEP’s Skills Service has been supporting businesses to identify where they have skills gaps within their teams and find the right training, sometimes bespoke, to help them grow the confidence and ability of their teams and in turn, improve the productivity and growth of their companies. We are also working with business leaders to connect businesses with schools, and help teachers prepare their students for the workforce in later life.

“Our activity is employer driven, learning from research such as our labour market analysis, to help us channel our funding and efforts into the projects that will have the greatest impact on our economy and prosperity in the future.”

For more information about the research and other research activity from the LEP, please visit www.the-lep.com/research.