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East of England

In the East of England there are 39,200 employees, accoutngin for 8% of all sector employees. There are around 1,800 employers in the region, which comprise 10% of the sector’s employers in Great Britain. 69% of employers employ fewer than 10 people, which is much lower than the regional figure of 85%. Employment levels in the region are expected to decline over the next 10 years.

Within the region there are clusters of the pharmaceutical, bioscience, chemical and polymer industries, but oil and gas, nuclear and refining are also significant in the region. There are around 2,100 jobs in the oil and gas industry in the region and 10,000 jobs indirectly dependent upon the industry. Sector activity is focused in Norfolk at Bacton with the gas terminal, with Lowestoft and Great Yarmouth providing onshore support for the Southern North Sea gas fields. In addition, over 1,200 people are employed at Sizewell A and B nuclear power stations.

The mean weekly pay for the region is £558.58, compared to £381.50 for the whole sector in the UK.

Using data from the Labour Force Survey for the region’s workforce profile follows:

  • over 90% of the workforce are employed full-time
  • 52% of the workforce is aged 25-44 years, compared to 47% regionally
  • 40% of the workforce is over 45 years, compared to 38% regionally
  • 69% of the sector workforce is male
  • 94% of the workforce is white, compared to 96% regionally
  • the proportion of the workforce with higher level qualifications (53%) compared to 49% of the region’s economy

In the East of England energy sector, 5% of the workforce is under 25 years.

A high proportion of the workforce in the region are Process, plant & machine operatives.

In the region, 20% of organisations report vacancies and 6% of employers in the sector reported hard-to-fill vacancies. Attracting and retaining a younger workforce are thought to be key to addressing these vacancies. 13% of employers reported skills gaps within their workforce with many gaps for specific occupational groups. The skills lacking included: fault finding/diagnostic; IT; job specific skills (relating to surveying in oil and gas); plus supervisory and management skills (relating to contract and project management).

There is a deficit of people with qualifications at Level 2 (9%) and Level 3 (13%).

The proportion of women working in the sector is expected to increase by 8.2% over the next 10 years. Lower level occupations are projected to decline by an estimated 6% over the same period. Total requirement in the region’s sector is forecast to be 7,000 people, which is comparable to other regions.

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