Skills for innovation-led levelling up

A big data lens on regional growth and specialisation in the UK

There is no single path to success in sparking innovation-led growth in a region. Places have different strengths, different natural endowments and different aspirations. However, whatever route is followed, a strong foundational skills base is essential.

In this new report, which complements previous work on the UK’s economic geography, we dive into the evolving landscape of skills demand across the UK.

Using a previously un-tapped source of big-data in the form of 46 million job postings across the UK, we are able to map the coverage of skills across the country, using the language and categories which employers use, rather than relying on blunt measures like qualifications. In parallel, we overlay this data with a dynamic view of industrial evolution. Using a set of industry clusters which are more meaningful than isolated SIC codes we see which parts of the UK are developing competences in which sectors – and how skills demand relates to this.

The data tell interesting stories about how successful particular locations have been in amplifying relative strengths to build competitive advantage. For example we see the East London Tech City story manifesting clearly in a strong data science skills growth story and physical engineering skills in both the Oxford-Cambridge arc as well as in production focused locations like the North East.

Modelling for this project was carried out by Emsi (now Lightcast )

Skills and Industry Clusters in Britain
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