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Related to: Socio-economic Inequality, Welfare Reform, Not in Education, Employment or Training, Out of Work Benefits, Tourism and the Visitor Economy, Children and Young People, Economic Growth and Business Start-Ups

Key Facts:

  • Economic activity currently stands at 76.7%, lower than regional and national rates.
  • The majority of economic inactivity comes from the very high numbers of students in the authority
  • There is a high level of self employment and part-time working in B&NES
  • Local skills levels are high, with over 45% educated to NVQ4+ level
  • Accessibility of work/transport issues remain a priority issue in B&NES
  • 30% of respondents to the 2015 resident Voicebox Survey who said they were in employment said they had received no training in the last two years.
  • 55% of respondents to the 2015 resident Voicebox Survey who said they were in employment said they were not interested in receiving any training.
  • 27% of respondents to the 2015 resident Voicebox Survey who said they were in employment said they would like technical, practical and job-specific training.
  • 94% of respondents to the 2015 resident Voicebox Survey thought impartial Careers Advice was important. 
  • 26% of respondents to the 2015 resident Voicebox Survey thought that they or their children knew where to go for impartial Careers Advice. 

To view up to date labour market information on Bath and North East Somerset please visit the ONS local profile on NOMIS.

What does the data say? 1

Working age population and economically active

There were 114,6222 people of working age resident in B&NES according to the 2011 Census with a peak of 79% economically active seen at Q4 2012/13 - the highest for B&NEs since 2005. Most recent mid-year population estimates suggests the working age population has risen to 116,000 people, making the current economic activity rate 76.7%. This is lower than the regional rate (79.8%) and the national rate (77.3%).

Unemployment

Of those economically active in B&NES, 5.1% were unemployed (data from October 2013 to September 2014). This is lower than the regional rate of 5.3% and the national rate of 6.5%. This figure is model-based unemployment to account for small sample sizes, see here for details of this method. 

Economic inactivity 

The level of economic inactivity can be explained by the high numbers of students in B&NES. Students now represent 40.5% of all those who are inactive in B&NES (over 10,000 economically inactive students). 

economically inactive - students time series

Fig 1. Student % of economically inactive population - B&NES compared to the South West and Great Britain. 

Conversely, B&NES has lower than average levels of inactivity and unemployment due to long-term sickness within all age bands across genders. Inactivity due to long-term sickness now makes up 14.6% of the inactive population in B&NES, compared to 20.3% for the South West and 21.6% nationally. 

Part-time working and self employment

As of 2013, 43% of employee jobs in B&NES were part-time compared to 36.7% regionally and 32.2% nationally.

The proportion of economically active persons who are self employed was 13.7% from Oct 2013 to September 2014. This is higher than the South West rate of 11.9% and the national rate of 10%. 

Job Density

Job density represents the ratio of total jobs to the 16-64 working age population and includes employees, self-employed, government-supported trainees and HM forces. A job density of 1.0 would mean that there is one job for every resident aged 16-64.

The job density in B&NES is 0.87, higher than the south west figure of 0.81 and the national figure of 0.78.

Qualifications

The workforce in B&NES is generally highly educated with 41.8% educated to NVQ4 level or above, compared to 34% regionally and 35% nationally. Conversely, there is a lower level of working age persons with no qualifications at all (5.3% locally compared to 6.6% in the South West and 9.4% nationally).

qualification levels graph - B&NES compared to the south west and great britain

Fig 2. % of working age population with various qualification levels for B&NES, South West and Great Britain.

Businesses information by ward

Data files (.csv) containing suppressed, ward level information for business are also available:

What does the community say?

Voicebox Resident Survey 3

The large scale Voicebox Resident Survey aims to provide an insight into Bath and North East Somerset and its local communities and to capture resident’s views on their local area and council services.

In 2015 the questionnaires were posted to 3,650 addresses selected randomly in the local authority area, and a total of 1,067 residents completed it, a response rate of 29%.

The 2015 Voicebox Survey asked residents about:

  • Qualifications
  • Learning opportunities
  • Employment
  • Employment training 
  • Careers advice

Qualifications

The graph below oulines which qualifications respondents said they had. 

Figure 3: The qualifications the respondents of the 2015 Voicebox Resident Survey said they had (998 responses) 

Learning opportunities

Love2learn - are adult part time daytime and evening courses provided by Bath College. These courses are available in a wide range of subjects and skills (e.g. creative writing, plumbing, languages and computer skills). When respondents were asked whether they had taken any Love2learn short courses at Bath College, only 7% said that they had. Of those that said they had taken a Love2learn short course, 92% were satisfied with the service they received from Bath College, 3% were dissatisfied (74 responses).

Apprenticeships - 63% of respondents knew that Bath College offers apprenticeship training for young people and adults (1,002 responses) and 44% of respondents knew that the Council has a range of apprenticeship opportunities (1,012 responses).

Project Search programme - is intensive job coaching offered by Bath College to 18-24 year olds with learning difficulties or disabilities.  Only 10% of respondents had heard of the Project Search programme for young people with learning difficulties (1,014 responses).

Employment

76% of respondents who said they were in employment stated that they commute to their place of work (638 responses).

The graph below outlines which sector the respondents said they were employed in or were looking for work in.

Figure 4: The employment sector the respondents of the 2015 Voicebox Resident Survey said they worked in or were looking for work in (680 responses).

Employment training

33% of respondents who said they were in employment said they had received in-house training only in the last two years.

29% of respondents who said they were in employment said they had received a combination of in-house and off-site training in the last two years.

30% of respondents who said they were in employment said they had received no training in the last two years.

The graph below outlines what employment training respondents said they received in the last two years.

Figure 5: The employment training the respondents of the 2015 Voicebox Resident Survey said they had received in the last two years (641 responses).

55% of respondents who said they were in employment said they were not interested in receiving any training.

27% of respondents who said they were in employment said they would like technical, practical and job-specific training.

The graph below outlines what employment training respondents said they would like to receive. 

Figure 6: The employment training the respondents of the 2015 Voicebox Resident Survey said they would like to receive (605 responses).

Careers advice

94% of respondents thought impartial Careers Advice was important (792 responses). 

26% of respondents thought that they or their children knew where to go for impartial Careers Advice (760 responses). 

20% of respondents said that they or members of their family had received careers advice in the last 5 years (906 responses). 

45% of respondents who had received careers advice in the last 5 years had received it from a source not listed these included work and university (80 responses).

The graph below outlines where respondents who said they had received careers advice in the last 5 years had received it from.

Figure 7: Where 2015 Voicebox Resident Survey respondents who said they had received careers advice in the last 5 years had received it from (80 responses)

90% of respondents said that those family members under 19 years old who had received careers advice in the last 5 years had received it from school (63 responses).

The graph below outlines where respondents said family members under 19 years old had received careers advice in the last 5 years from.

Figure 8: Where 2015 Voicebox Resident Survey respondents said that those family members under 19 years old who had received careers advice in the last 5 years had received it from (63 responses)

29% of respondents said that those family members 19 years and over who had received careers advice in the last 5 years had received it from a source not listed, 25% said they had received it from Job Centre Plus and 24% said they had received it from friends/family (59 responses).

The graph below outlines where respondents said family members 19 years and over had received careers advice in the last 5 years from.

Figure 9: Where 2015 Voicebox Resident Survey respondents said that those family members 19 years and over who had received careers advice in the last 5 years had received it from (59 responses)

Only 2% of respondents had heard of the Career Pilot service for young people (995 responses).

Only 1% of respondents had heard of the Life Pilot careers service for adults (990 responses).

Are we meeting the needs?

Highlighted Issues for the B&NES economy:

  • Accessibility of work (transport)
  • Under supply of affordable housing
  • The potential impact of the work capability assessment on a varied group of mental health claimants. There are issues around whether there will be enough local capacity to support people with mental health back to work
  • Lack of enterprise support for starting own jobs and leaving JSA
  • Peak oil – a problem for the B&NES hospitality and tourism market which is reliant on oil and the foreign market.  Will also affect commuters into and out of Bath
  • Sustained worklessness in families – intergenerational and wider family impact

What can we realistically change?

Economic Strategy Review 2014-20304

The B&NES economic strategy, first developed in 2010 and revised in 2014, sets out a number of strategic priorities and detailed actions covering 3 major themes of businesses, places and people. It was developed in partnership with the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership.

Click here to read the Economic Strategy Review 2014-2030

The vision is “Bath & North east Somerset will be internationally renowned as a beautifully inventive and entrepreneurial 21st century place with a strong social purpose and a spirit of wellbeing, where everyone is invited to think big – a ‘connected’ area ready to create an extraordinary legacy for future generations”

The overall ambition is to increase the number of jobs in B&NES by 11,500 by 2030. Taking into account job losses, this will require some 16,900 new jobs to be created, with the largest growth in distribution, hotels and restaurants followed by Banking, finance and insurance. Achieving this would grow the local economy by over £3bn.  

Recent economic trends across B&NES;

  • Bath city provides nearly 70% of the areas employment and economic output and is home to 50% of B&NES businesses.

  • The market towns of Keynsham and the Somer Valley area provide two-thirds of the employment outside the city

  • In 2011, the B&NES economy produced an estimated £3.8bn GVA output

  • Average productivity per employee of £41,600, slightly lower than West of England and nationally.

  • High employment in public sector, retail and tourism

  • The B&NES economic output fell by 5.1% during the 2008 recession, compared to 1.9% across the West of England and 5.4% nationally

  • Growth in the knowledge economy locally has outstripped both the West of England and England (5% compared with 4% and 2%)

Local economic issues;

  • The average size of businesses in B&NES is smaller relative to the national picture (only 15% employ more than 10 people compared with 19% and 17% for the sub-region and nationally)

  • House prices are 40% higher than the national average and a quarter of housing in the private rented sector fails to meet minimum expected standards

  • Average wages are 10% lower than the national average

  • Long term unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, remains an issue

  • Shortage of industrial space and quality office spaces

  • 1. NOMIS labour market profile - Bath and North East Somerset - updated March 2015 - https://www.nomisweb.co.uk/reports/lmp/la/1946157346/report.aspx?#tabrespop
  • 2. Census 2011 KS102EW Age structure release
  • 3. Marketing Means (2016) Voicebox 24, Section 5: Employment and Skills Headline Draft Report, Bath and North East Somerset Council, November 2015 – January 2016
  • 4. B&NES Economic strategy review 2014-2030