Thursday, 8 July 2010

The North/South divide is alive and well

Descended from The Industrial Society, The Work Foundation campaigns to "improve the quality of working life, emphasising practical training interventions that organisations could adopt to do that."

Their recent report "No City Left Behind? The geography of the recovery – and the implications for the coalition" is uncomfortable reading for anyone who belives that the UK North/South divide is a relic of the past.

The Work Foundation: No City Left Behind?

As the report indicates, the recession has widened the gap between successful UK cities and those with weak economies. Those cities which were resilient to the recession were those which had been doing the best in the period beforehand. And those cities where unemployment has increased by the most were those which were doing badly before.

The report has identifed a set of cities which have high potential for future growth as we (hopefully) exit the recession. The cities which are likely to experience considerable growth in the future are those with highly educated populations, high levels of employment in the potential growth sectors and relatively low levels of employment in the public sector.

Top of the Pops for such growth are:
  1. Reading & Bracknell
  2. Cambridge
  3. London
  4. Aberdeen
  5. Oxford
  6. Milton Keynes & Aylesbury
  7. Luton & Watford
  8. Crawley
  9. Swindon
  10. Edinburgh
The low growth cities tend to have very low levels of employment in growth sectors, a high reliance on public sector employment and relatively low skilled populations.
Down in the Bargain Basement we have (getting worse as you move down the list):
  1. Mansfield
  2. Wakefield & Castleford
  3. Hastings
  4. Hull
  5. Blackpool
  6. Swansea
  7. Liverpool
  8. Grimsby
  9. Barnsley
  10. Doncaster
The report comes up with a number of suggestion for alleviating the situation, one of which appears to resonate with the debate that is starting to circulate in HR circles:
Recognise that sustainable growth is about building up and not circulating talent.
Something for us all to think about there.

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