Employment outlook and the jobs market
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Employment outlook and the jobs market


Leeds is the UK’s second largest employment centre outside London, with an active workforce totalling 498,000.

Employment in Leeds is expected to rise by 25,000 over the next decade – on a par with Birmingham and much higher than other major employment centres outside of London, according to projections from Experian Business Strategies.

Private sector jobs growth

Employee numbers in Leeds have increased by 3% over the last decade, while self-employment rose by 26% – reflecting the impact of the recession on the economy and general labour market trends.

According to the Cities Outlook 2017, published by independent think tank Centre for Cities, Leeds has seen the highest rate of private sector jobs growth at 6.1%, ahead of London and 4.4% and well above the national average of 2.5%.

Employment growth

Employment in Leeds is forecast to increase by 6.5% over the next 10 years – higher than the 5% growth rate forecast for the UK and faster than most other core cities. Sectors forecast to see the fastest growth in job numbers include:

  • financial services (+9%)
  • construction (+7%)
  • accommodation and food services (+15%) 
  • professional services (+6%)
  • transport and logistics (+6%)

Manufacturing employment is projected to fall by 9% in Leeds, reflecting wider trends for the Leeds City Region and the UK. 

More jobs, better jobs

While there are signs of growth in the numbers of high skilled and low skilled jobs, the ‘hollowing out’ of the jobs market in the UK means there are fewer middle ranking jobs, with one in four jobs likely to remain low-skilled and low-paid.

The More Jobs Better Jobs partnership has therefore been set up between the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Leeds City Council and the Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership to improve workforce skills and ensure that the benefits of growth are more widely shared.

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