There are a number of factors which are driving change in the labour market and these have an impact on the type of jobs we do and how we do them. Over the years industries such as coal mining and ship-building have declined, however other industries have emerged, grown and flourished including car manufacturing, call centres, catering and ICT.

One impact of these changes is that the average age at which young people enter the jobs market has changed. In the mid 1970s, over half of all young people leaving school in the region went straight into work. However, with the movement towards a higher skilled and knowledge-based economy, many more young people are spending extra time in training or further and higher education.

Growth and decline

Although there has been a decline of British manufacturing industry, much of what remains of manufacturing in this country is now highly productive and requires skilled workers. Around one in ten people in work across Tyne and Wear still work in a manufacturing or engineering business. This is a higher proportion than those working in construction, financial services or catering and hospitality.

Retail continues to be a major employer providing over 10% of all jobs across Tyne and Wear. Major shopping centres such as the MetroCentre (Gateshead), Eldon Square (Newcastle) and the Bridges (Sunderland) have helped make Tyne and Wear a major centre for the retail industry, they attract shoppers from all over the region and from overseas too.

Creative and media industries represent one of the fastest growing sectors in the area. The sector employs people in a diverse range of job activities including actors, musicians, journalists, graphic designers, photographers and computer game developers.

In recent years the health and care sector has expanded and now provides jobs for almost 16% of all workers across Tyne and Wear. The NHS remains the country’s largest employer with around 1.7 million employees across the country and around 30,000 in Tyne and Wear.

As the economy moves forward there is expected to be more reliance on the private sector as a generator of new jobs. However, even in sectors where there is not expected to be jobs growth overall, there will still be a need to replace people who retire. This applies to the public sector too.

Where will the jobs of the future be?


Many economists point out that we are moving towards a knowledge based, high-tech, low carbon economy. From the present perspective this would appear to be the most likely future.

This new economy will require highly educated and trained people with specialist knowledge and skills to fill a growing number of professional, associate professional, technical and managerial positions. Many of these people will be graduates and post-graduates or people who have undergone extensive training through technical apprenticeships and tertiary education.

However, not everyone will work in these roles. Indeed there has been some growth in comparatively lower-skilled jobs in areas such as retail and catering and hospitality. These can be useful first steps into the job market and provide many young people with their first experience of the world of work. They can build important employability skills and can lead to promotion or help people access other jobs. However, many of these lower-skilled jobs tend to pay relatively low wages. It’s important to remember that careers choices will have an impact on future earnings.

Tomorrow’s Hour Glass Employment Structure


Some economists have suggested that the trend is towards an hour glass structure of employment, with the bulk of workers being either in the top or lower strata and with relatively few in the middle.

Original written material and template Copyright @ Focus LMI 2014. The information may be used by Connexions Hub Services in Tyne and Wear and its partners for the use of delivering careers education and guidance and aspects of the Work Related Curriculum in schools and colleges. However, the information may not be used by any party for commercial purposes and the original material or template cannot be amended or updated without the written permission of Focus LMI.