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West Midlands Local Skills Report Annex A - Core Indicators 2022

Skills Demand

Skills Demand - Summary

Key Findings

  • ‘Replacement demand’, the need to replace retiring workers, will drive significant recruitment even in occupations with declining employment, such as machine operatives, skilled trades, and secretarial work. On the other hand, professional occupations are projected to grow strongly through the decade, with 26% of positions coming from expansion and 74% from replacement.

  • There has been a rapid decrease in the percentage of the working-age population with no qualifications, and growth at most higher qualification levels. However, the West Midlands still is projected to see the slowest growth in residents educated to postgraduate level through 2027, and slowest decrease in those with no qualifications, in the country.

  • A rapid recovery has been observed in job postings since the winter 2020/2021 lockdown, surpassing past trends. This can be attributed to the phenomenon of the ‘great resignation’, i.e. an unusual level of labour market mobility as people re-evaluate their careers in the aftermath of the pandemic.

  • Lack of needed skills is cited by employers as the top cause of vacancies being hard to fill.

  • There is a continuing lack of awareness amongst smaller employers of how the apprenticeship system works and how to take advantage of it.

Online vacancies

Emsi data showing trends in unique job postings show a strong recovery in the region since the depth of the pandemic, with the current high mobility in the job market being reflected in totals much larger than before the pandemic.

Adzuna data corroborates this, and suggests that the West Midlands outstrips London and the England average in terms of the proportional increase in job postings, indicating very high turnover of staff through the recovery.

Sector growth forecasts

Several scenarios are possible for the effect of the coronavirus on growth within different sectors in the region. Depending on how much purchase remote working has in professional services in the long term, we may see displacement as workers evade long commutes and higher house prices and exercise greater geographical mobility. The role of the city centre may shift towards culture and entertainment, creating opportunities in these sectors to re- imagine urban spaces.

Primary sector and utilities 2.40 2.50 4.70
Manufacturing 13.20 11.20 11.50
Construction 1.30 0.50 0.30
Trade, accommodation and transport 0.80 0.60 0.30
Business and other services 2.90 4.10 2.40
Non marketed services 3.90 1.20 1.50

Table 4: Forecast total change in employment by sector and Local Enterprise Partnership, 2020-2027.

Occupation growth forecasts

A key challenge for the region is that growth in professional services is on a smaller base than in the UK as a whole, and the corresponding decline in manufacturing employment is on a larger base. Combined with the relative youth of the region’s population, there is a clear challenge for job creation.


Black Country
Total demand
Managers, directors and senior officials 11.9 38.7 50.7
Professional occupations 12.1 34.6 46.7
Associate professional and technical 9 32.9 41.9
Administrative and secretarial 14.9 31.8 30.6
Skilled trade options 11.9 25.9 13.9
Caring leisure and other services 13.5 40.5 54
sales and customer Service 4 30.3 26.3
Process, plant and machine operatives 10.6 29.6 18.9
Elementary occupations 1.2 31.8 30.6
All 1.5 33.1 34.5


Coventry and Warwickshire


Total demand
Managers, directors and senior officials 13.2 39 52.2
Professional occupations 11.8 34 45.8
Associate professional and technical 9.7 32.8 42.4
Administrative and secretarial 13.9 32 18.1
Skilled trade options 11.7 26.1 14.4
Caring leisure and other services 12.6 40.2 52.8
sales and customer Service 2.6 30.6 28
Process, plant and machine operatives 9.1 30 20.9
Elementary occupations 0.3 32.3 32
All 2.1 33.1 35.2


Greater Birmingham and Solihull


Total demand
Managers, directors and senior officials 12.9 39 51.8
Professional occupations 11.4 34.3 45.6
Associate professional and technical 8.8 32.7 41.6
Administrative and secretarial 14.9 31.8 30.6
Skilled trade options 11.3 26.1 14.8
Caring leisure and other services 12.5 40.2 52.7
sales and customer Service 2.6 30.6 28
Process, plant and machine operatives 8.9 30.3 21.5
Elementary occupations 0 32.2 32.2
All 2 33.2 35.2


Table 5: Replacement demand component of employment growth, LEP areas, Department for Education Working Futures projections, 2017-2027.

Skills that need developing:

A slightly smaller number of West Midlands firms rate employees as needing to develop themselves across these key skills than the England average. This is consistent with a smaller proportion of skills-shortage vacancies and suggests that specific technical skills within the existing workforce are less of a constraint here than England-wide.

Advanced IT skills are cited more in GBSLEP as a constraint than England-wide, likely because the significant overlap between professional services and growing IT and data skills will demand greater knowledge of coding, software and web development, and associated software packages.