William Eichler 07 March 2019

Southern cities provide more jobs for low-skilled workers than in the North

Employment opportunities are greater for people with few or no qualifications in southern English cities than those in the North or Midlands, a think tank has discovered.

Research by the Centre for Cities has found that, despite higher living costs in cities in southern England, their stronger economies create significantly more jobs for people with fewer qualifications.

For every 10 high-skilled jobs in a city, 17 further jobs for low-skilled people are created as a result, such as those in shops or restaurants.

High-Skilled jobs are largely concentrated in southern cities, and so there are more low-skilled jobs in places like Cambridge, Oxford and Exeter and therefore less competition between low-skilled workers.

In cities with fewer high-skilled jobs such as Glasgow, Barnsley and Birkenhead there are at least two low-skilled people competing for every low-skilled job.

‘Politicians to the left and right of the political spectrum talk about supporting inclusive growth. The message of this report is clear: growing cities’ overall economies is a prerequisite for creating inclusive growth,’ said Centre for Cities' chief executive Andrew Carter.

‘This cannot be achieved with a one-size-fits-all approach. The Government should therefore entrust city leaders to spend money from Shared Prosperity Fund on economic interventions that best suit their local areas’ need – be it adult education, infrastructure or affordable homes.

‘While the findings do indicate a North-South divide this is not uniform. In the north cities such as York, Preston and Warrington are also offering low-skill people a share in relative inclusive growth.’

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