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North West

Current sector employment levels are estimated to be around 77,600 employees, representing 3.1% of regional employment and 16% of the UK Cogent sector workforce. Employment levels are expected to decline slightly further over the next few years. There are around 2,400 employers in the region accounting for 13% of employers in the sector. 63% of employers employ fewer than 10 people, which is much lower than the regional figure of 82%.

All the industries are significant in the region, but there are particularly high levels in the nuclear, pharmaceuticals and chemicals industries. 39% of the Nuclear workforce is based in the North West.

The mean weekly pay for the region is £459.00, compared to £381.50 for the whole sector in the UK.

Data from the Labour Force Survey for the region’s sectoral workforce are variable so some caution is required for the following workforce profile data:

  • over 90% of the workforce are employed full-time
  • 9-11% of the workforce is aged 16-24 years
  • 40-42% of the workforce is over 45 years
  • over 70% of the sector workforce is male
  • 99% of the workforce is white, compared to 96% of the region’s workforce
  • the proportion of the workforce with higher level qualifications (51%) is in-line with the regional economy (51%) and the UK sector figure (53%)

The gender split in the sector’s regional workforce is expected to be 50/50 in 2014.

The occupational structure of the sector is comparable to other regions and it will remain fairly stable over the next 10 years. A small rise of 2% is projected in management and leadership occupations, whilst operative occupations are projected to decline by 3%. Replacement demand for operatives is, however, expected to be significant over the next 10 years. In the North West, a high proportion of the workforce are Managers & Senior Officials.

15% of employers in the sector reported vacancies with 6% reporting hard-to-fill vacancies and 3% skills shortage vacancies. Internal skills gaps are experienced by 22% employers in the region.

There is a deficit of people with qualifications at Level 2 (10%) and Level 3 (8%).

76% of employers in the sector provide training. Lack of time and cover were frequently reported as barriers to training, followed by lack of funding and a lack of appropriate courses.

Sources: Cogent regional factsheet 2008 and Cogent Sector Skill Needs Assessment 2006