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UKCES Working Futures report

December 6, 2013

The UKCES (UK Commission on Employment & Skills) updated its Working Futures 2010-2020 last year, and its findings then are still relevant to anyone interested in research and LMI, especially in the light of yesterday’s Autumn Statement. The headline findings are listed below and there’s a link to the report at the end of this piece.

The headline findings are as follows:

  • The model projects that there will be a slow recovery from recession, with the UK economy generating around 1 ½ million additional jobs by 2020.
  • The working age population and workforce are projected to rise significantly but labour market participation rates are expected to fall slightly, reflecting the aging of the population.
  • Manufacturing is projected to maintain its share of total output (at around 11 per cent) up to 2020 but to see a small fall in its share of employment, from 8 to 7 per cent of the total, as a result of increased productivity.
  • Private services are expected to be the main source of jobs growth, with employment in this part of the economy projected to rise by more than 1.5m (+9 per cent) during the full period of 2010-2020, increasing its share of total employment from 55 per cent to 58 per cent. Business and other services will be a particularly crucial component, with growth of more than 12 per cent, equivalent to more than 1 million additional jobs.
  • The period is expected to see a shift in the balance of the economy away from public sector activities. The share of total employment accounted for by non-market services is projected to fall from 27 per cent in 2010 to 25 per cent in 2020.
  • There is forecast to be a continued trend of employment growth in higher skilled, white collar occupations, including managers, professionals and associate professional roles.
  • The study estimates 2 million additional jobs in these occupations by 2020. These three occupations are projected to increase their share of total employment from 42 per cent to 46 per cent over the 10 year period.
  • Continuing sharp declines in employment are expected for skilled and semi-skilled manual roles, including in skilled trade occupations and process, plant & machine operatives. 400,000 such manual jobs are forecast to disappear between 2010 and 2020, reducing the combined employment share of these occupations from 18 per cent to 16 per cent.
  • Administrative and secretarial occupations are projected to see a loss of almost 400,000 jobs, a fall of around 11 per cent, largely as a result of the continuing impact of technology in the workplace. There is still expected to be around 3 million jobs in this occupational area by 2020 but its share of employment will have fallen from 12 per cent to 10 per cent, according to the projections.
  • Lower skilled jobs will remain a significant component of the labour market. There is expected to be an increase of more than 300,000 jobs in caring, personal and other service occupations (+10 per cent) and 100,000 (+3 per cent) in low-skilled elementary jobs between 2010 and 2020, again mostly in service-based areas.
  • Job openings created by those who leave the labour market (i.e. replacement demands) are projected to generate around 12 million job openings between 2010 and 2020, many times more than the 1.5m openings from the creation of new jobs. Replacement demands will lead to job openings for all industries and occupations including those in which the net level of employment is expected to decline significantly. This has important implications for individuals who may be considering their future career and education and training options, since even those occupations where employment is projected to decline may still offer good career prospects.
  • The demand for skills as measured by formal qualifications is projected to rise as is the supply of people holding higher level qualifications. The number of jobs in occupations typically requiring a degree is expected to continue to grow but perhaps more slowly than previously forecast.
  • The southern part of England is expected to see more rapid employment growth than the devolved nations and the northern regions of England.

You can download the full report and executive Summary from:

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