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West Midlands

The process and manufacturing sector contains over 800,000 people across the UK, and over 76,000 people work in the West Midlands.

Around 77% of the companies in the sector in the West Midlands have fewer than 10 employees, and although only 1% of companies have more than 200 employees, they represent over a quarter of the total workforce. The sector workforce in the West Midlands is predominantly male (66%), although the proportion of women in the sector is rising year on year.

Around 24% of employees in the West Midlands sector fall into the skilled trades occupational category, and a similar percentage are classed as process, plant and machine operatives (21%). Also, managers make up 17% of the total workforce. Recent forecasts suggest that employment in manual and semi-skilled roles will continue to decrease as this shift progresses, but also that there will be a simultaneous rise in higher level managerial and technical roles.

Around a third of all employers in the sector recognise that there is a vital need for improved skills, both in their own workforces and in the pools from which they recruit, and around a 13% sees improving skills as a viable response to the recession.

41% of companies in the West Midlands reported a decline in sales over the last year, compared with just 11% in 2006.

Higher proportions of the sector workforce are qualified to level 2 than in the UK workforce as a whole, but there are lower proportions of employees qualified at level 3 and above.

Around 16% of companies in the West Midlands report skill gaps. These exist across the range of occupational groups, but are most common in the West Midlands amongst administrative/ secretarial roles (14% of occupational group), skilled trades (9% of occupational group) and process, plant and machine operatives (7%). The most common specific skill gaps are those of a technical, practical or job-specific nature.

Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – England 2010

The West Midlands sector profile, 2007/08


Source: Proskills Sector Skills Assessment – England 2010, annex I. Data derived from the Annual Business Inquiry 2007 and the Labour Force Survey 2008.