Plan to boost higher-paid jobs in York

Photograph: Joergelman / Pixabay

Plans to boost well-paid jobs in York will be discussed by councillors at a meeting.

A report said most of the skilled new jobs created in the city have been in business, media and public professional roles.

But there has been a drop in scientific, research, engineering and technology positions.

And only 14 per cent of York businesses said they are expecting to take on more staff in the next year – compared to 21 per cent of companies across the Leeds city region.

A report prepared for the meeting says this is down to “barriers to growth including concerns over future relations with Europe”.

It acknowledges that the city’s economy is focused on low-paid jobs – in retail, tourism and social care – which keep wages below the national average.

Brexit uncertainties

Cllr Andrew Waller
A study published in January found York recorded the largest fall in average weekly earnings between 2017 and 2018 of any city – from £514 per week to £449.

Cllr Andrew Waller said:

  • From speaking to businesses there are concerns at the moment about the uncertainties over Brexit, and border controls, which is holding back some investment decisions, and is reported by retail sector as impacting on footfall.

    York has joined with Yorkshire council leaders in asking that there is clarity on the future of what is currently EU investment in the region, with continuity on whatever the current government is thinking to come up with to ensure that locally we get our share of the green and clean jobs together with the necessary funding for skills and training.

The council wants to make sure residents have “the best possible access to economic opportunities” according to the report – which says work must be done to promote apprenticeships, boost jobs for graduates so they can stay in the city and encourage companies to create skilled roles.

It adds that York has the highest level of working age people with degree-level qualifications of all cities in the north – with 47.9 per cent of the population educated this stage.

Employment fall

An aerial view of the Guildhall complex. Photograph © Google Street View
But a report for West Yorkshire Combined Authority said while jobs grew in Harrogate and Leeds in the last quarter – York saw employment fall by about 1,500.

Simon Brereton, head of economic growth at the council, said the figures are “based on a relatively small sample size and are prone to fluctuation”.

And he added:

  • While some businesses may be cautious about the economic outlook, we are pleased to see that employment rates in York continue to be amongst the highest in Yorkshire and the Humber, exceeding both regional and national rates.

    York remains a great location for business growth with a number of local businesses developing new markets, hiring staff and looking for bigger premises to realise their growth potential and we and our key partners, continue to ensure that York remains a great place in which to invest and do business.

The meeting is on Wednesday.