Labor Force

This paper highlights the main industrial sectors in the West and South West of Scotland and how these are projected to change in coming years. Consideration will also be given to reported skills gaps. It will be suggested that these factors, against the backdrop of a shifting population dynamic, will lead us to re-evaluate UoP’s positioning, subject mix, as well as its part-time and CPD provision. Destination and Nature of UoP Students The Student Services’ ‘Survey of Graduate Destinations, 2003’1 reported that over 80% of Scottish graduates remain in Scotland and that many seek work within their local area.

This survey also indicated that “most of our students live close to the University and the majority choose to remain in their home area after graduating”. It therefore remains vital to ensure that UoP adequately equips its students to meet the needs of the local labour market. The Graduate Destinations survey also reported that the greatest number of vacancies were identified within the sectors of finance (accountancy and investment banking), retailing, engineering and public administration.

Labour force data (below) indicates that the service sector (including finance and retail) and public administration are major employers in the West and South West of Scotland. Moreover labour demand projections (also below) demonstrate that employment capacity in these areas, along with health and education, will grow in future years within Scotland. As a result, in planning future provision it will be important for the University to ensure it meets the demands of projected shifts in the local economy.

The Labour Market: Local vs. National Context National Statistics’ (Nomis)2 local area labour force data has been disaggregated for a sample of local authorities within the West and South West of Scotland: Argyll ; Bute, Dumfries ; Galloway, East Ayrshire, East Renfrewshire, Eilean Siar (Western Isles), Glasgow City, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, North Lanarkshire, Renfrewshire, South Ayrshire and South Lanarkshire. The results are illustrated in the chart below.

This data demonstrates that over 76% of employment within the West and South West is within the service sector: distribution, hotels ; restaurants; transport ; communications; banking, finance ; insurance; public administration, education ; health; and other services. Public administration, education ; health alone account for nearly 30% of employment in this area (for the full data set, see Appendix I3). Nomis Labour market statistics can also be produced in such a way as to enable comparison of employment by sector in a specific local authority with Scottish and UK statistics.

Appendix II shows reports for Renfrewshire with respect to the key sectors of banking, finance ; insurance; service sector; public administration, education ; health, manufacturing; and tourism. This data indicates that employment has grown in Renfrewshire from the mid ’90s in banking, finance & insurance; the service sector; public administration; and education & health, while manufacturing and tourism have declined (it is perhaps worth acknowledging that the nature of the tourism industry may mean that it is less appropriate to evaluate this data at regional level).

NB The indirect benefits of tourism can be more difficult to quantify and it can been less straightforward to measure the part tourism plays in local economies. Drilling Down… All Local Economic Forums produced Labour Market Profiles 4 in 2004. The table below illustrates the broad similarity in labour market trends across Ayrshire, Lanarkshire, Glasgow, Argyll & the Islands and Renfrewshire. This data confirms Nomis statistics regarding the growing importance of Public Services as an employer along with the decline in manufacturing.

It is also worth noting that male employment and the number of full-time jobs in Renfrewshire are reported has having decreased between 1997 and 2002. It is probably reasonable to assume that the expanding public transport network in Glasgow and Glasgow Airport itself are in part responsible for the growth in transport and communications noted below for Glasgow and Renfrewshire. *Future Skills note that research published by the Policy Research Institute (2002)showed that Jobcentre Plus notified vacancies represented around 31% of actual vacancies

While this data should be treated with caution, it is interesting nonetheless that the vast majority of vacancies reported across the West and South West of Scotland are within financial & banking services. Labour Demand/Supply Projections: What should this tell us about UoP provision? The Labour Market Projections for 2004 published by Futureskills Scotland5 illustrate, as shown below, that increases in employment are anticipated in the sectors of business & financial services, distribution, retail & catering, Public Services and Other Services.

http://www. futureskillsscotland. org. uk/web/site/FSSReports. asp? subtypeid=9 These national projections clearly indicate that continued growth is anticipated in public and other services; distribution, retail & catering; and business & financial services (albeit that public and other services are projected to grow at a slower rate, having experienced considerable expansion over the last twenty years). It should be noted that regional data is not deemed by government agencies to be sufficiently robust to permit projections at a local level.

Although Scotland’s population has been in gradual decline since the 1970s6, the working population has grown. While the population is projected to continue to decline, the proportion of those in work and seeking employment is anticipated to remain relatively stable, or decrease slightly. Scotland’s mature population is also anticipated to reduce in numbers (as set out in other papers available via the Planning & Development Office).

It will be important for the institution to respond to these factors, particularly in light of the decrease in the number of secondary school pupils7 anticipated by the Scottish Executive, which indicates a reduction in demand by school leavers for full-time HE places. In consequence of these projected shifts in demographic and employment trends, it is likely that demand for full-time provision from both school leavers and those in employment will decline. As those in employment seek to update existing skills and/or develop new skills, increased demand for part-time and work-based provision will increase.

This will not only have implications for the types of programmes which will be in demand, but will also result in a need to continue to develop flexible modes of delivery that fit around the lives of working people. Given the projected expansion and contraction of the industrial sectors as outlined above and bearing in mind projected population decline and makeup, this may well be an appropriate time for the University to reconsider its subject mix. It will be vital for the institution to evaluate where priorities lie in terms of future development and rationalisation.