A strong innovative culture and an economy rich in services and research-based firms will mean that Oxford will be home to the UK’s fastest employment growth by the end of 2022 – according to the latest business report by national law firm Irwin Mitchell.
The UK Powerhouse study, which has been produced by the Centre for Economics & Business Research (Cebr), analyses 50 of the largest local economies by employment and GVA* growth.
In the latest report, Oxford is predicted to see the number of people in work grow the fastest over the next 12 months, increasing year-on-year by 3.2% and adding almost 5,000 new filled positions.
Highlighting the economic impact of world-renowned universities, Cambridge like Oxford is also expected to perform strongly when it comes to the number of people in work, recording a 2.5% year-on-year increase. Chelmsford and Inner London are the other locations in top five.
Large cities such as Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, Cardiff and Edinburgh also rank in the top 10 for employment growth. Smaller locations in the North including Rotherham, Wakefield, Preston and Stockport all appear it in the bottom 10 out of the 50 locations.
Oxford, Cambridge and Milton Keynes are predicted to see year-on-year GVA growth of 3.3% by the end of 2022. This will result in a total of £1.8bn being added to their total economic output.
Emphasising a growing north-south divide, this is the same GVA growth seen in Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, York and Liverpool combined.
Hannah Clipston, partner at Irwin Mitchell, said, “The UK’s economy has undergone significant change over the last two years and this report highlights that the recovery is unlikely to be linear or even uniform.
“Over the next 12 months our report predicts that manufacturing’s output will grow by 3.5% whilst for hospitality it will grow by 35%. This has a huge impact on the variations that we are seeing in terms of growth in different locations and should be considered by the government as it looks to level up and tackle the north-south divide.”
Irwin Mitchell’s report also examines to what extent disruption in the economy leads to innovation.
Here the study reveals that the South West and the South East have the largest share of businesses engaged in innovative activity. It says that 41% of businesses in the South West are defined as innovative compared to 34% in Northern Ireland.
The most popular driver for innovation is improving the quality of good and services. Interestingly, only a quarter of firms in the South East were innovating in response to environmental concerns and a desire to reduce their carbon footprint. The proportion was even lower in London and the South West where the figure was just 20%.
Hannah added: “Businesses have been incredibly resilient over the last couple of years and have faced many disruptors including Covid, labour shortages, supply chain issues and high fuel costs.
“Our latest study recommends that irrespective of the sector they’re in, organisations should be adopting technology more quickly and adapting to the UK’s new status after Brexit.
“All of this will require a shift in approach and for innovation to be celebrated and nurtured more than it is currently. It’s vital that businesses are encouraged to follow this path and receive the right level of support in order to help them succeed.”