Birmingham’s education sector among largest in UK – survey

Birmingham’s education sector is among the top three largest in the UK while Coventry’s employment rate was among the strongest recorded across the third quarter of 2017, according to a new study by law firm Irwin Mitchell.

The UK Powerhouse study, which is produced in conjunction with the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr), provides an estimate of GVA growth and job creation within 45 of the UK’s largest cities 12 months ahead of the Government’s official figures.

According to the latest report, Birmingham’s economy grew by 1.5 per cent to reach £24.6 billion in the 12 months to Q3 2017. In addition, the city’s employment level rose by 0.9 per cent to 562,967 across the same period.

Elsewhere in the Midlands, Coventry moved up a place to third in the report’s league table on employment, with the number of people in work rising by 1.2 per cent to 190,717. Notable employment growth was also seen in Wolverhampton, which moved up nine places after an increase of 0.8 per cent was recorded.

The latest report also examines the impact that education has on city economies; with Birmingham’s education sector being valued at £498.4 million. This makes it the third largest in the UK behind only London and Oxford.

According to the latest data, the city’s education sector also grew by 9 per cent between 2012 and 2015 and makes up 8 per cent of the total city’s GVA.

Chris Rawstron, partner at Irwin Mitchell in Birmingham, said:

“While Birmingham itself had modest employment growth across the period analysed, there was better news for both Coventry and Wolverhampton in terms of employment rates.

“However, in terms of education, it has showed that Birmingham is one of the real leaders in the area with the sector making a notable impact on the city’s growth and development.”

The report notes the education sector makes a major contribution to economic growth within many areas surrounding universities and also offers recommendations on how it can continue to do so.

These include:

  • Universities engaging in the work of Local Enterprise Partnerships, particularly in support for innovation
  • Cities with a strong outflow of graduate age young workers having policies for retaining talent, with the Government also providing incentives for graduate recruiters to hire more in those areas
  • Cities improving infrastructure to optimise the movement of workers
  • The introduction of large-scale affordable housing projects to appeal to graduates
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