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West Midlands

Current sector employment in the West Midlands is estimated to be around 33,500 employees, accounting for 7% of the UK Cogent sector workforce. There are 1,800 employers in the region, accounting for 10% of Cogent employers. These are predominately in the polymer processing and chemical industries, which play a key role in the automotive sector. The polymer industry is primarily located in Shropshire and the Black Country.

71% of employers employ fewer than 10 people, which is lower than the regional figure of 83%.

The mean weekly pay for the region is £465.50, 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:

  • around 90% of the workforce are employed full-time
  • 12% of the workforce is aged 16-24 years, compared to 10% nationally
  • 42% of the workforce is over 45 years, compared to 40% nationally
  • just over 70% of the sector workforce is male
  • 92% of the workforce is white
  • the proportion of the workforce with higher level qualifications (40%) compared to 48% of the region’s economy

The occupational structure of the sector is expected to remain fairly stable over the next 10 years. With the exception of operatives and elementary level occupations which are projected to decline by 3%. There are a high proportion of Process, plant & machine operatives and Managers & senior officials.

There is a deficit of people with qualifications at Level 2 (17%) and Level 3 (8%).

In the region, 14% of employers in the sector reported vacancies; 6% of employers with vacancies reported them to be hard-to-fill vacancies and 3% of employers found these to be skills related. 20% of employers reported a skills gap within their workforce. 66% of employers in the sector provide training, but a lack of funding and a lack of appropriate courses were frequently reported as barriers to training.

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