The City's Future Economy and Labour Market Requirements
Report of the Head of Work and Skills attached
This report provides information on the City’s current Labour Market using the data and intelligence that is currently available, providing an overview of skills demand and supply. The report sets out some of the work in which the Council and its partners are connecting residents to opportunities arising from the city’s growth, as well as ensuring businesses have access to the skills they need to grow.
The Committee considered a report of the Head of Work and Skills, which provided information on the city’s current labour market using the data and intelligence that was currently available, providing an overview of skills demand and supply. The report set out some of the work in which the Council and its partners were connecting residents to opportunities arising from the city’s growth, as well as ensuring businesses had access to the skills they needed to grow.
The Head of Work and Skills referred to the main points and themes within the report, which included:-
· A number of external factors (ranging from global, to national and local) were impacting on UK economies and more specifically Manchester’s economy, which was resulting in industry skills needs moving and changing faster than the skills sector;
· An overview of Manchester’s current labour market and employment by broad industry;
· Areas of anticipated future growth and demand that would drive the city’s growth and productivity;
· The need for a highly skilled workforce which would be fundamental to Manchester’s economic growth;
· A talent pipeline needed to be developed to enable employers to grow their own talent from within the city to meet their future growth ambitions
· An overview of Manchester residents’ performance within Further, Higher and Adult Education provision;
· Employers in key-growth sectors were increasingly recognising the need to work in partnership with training providers to develop higher-level roles for their industries aligned to apprenticeship standards, which were lacking in some sectors;
· The Apprenticeship Levy had brought major change to the apprenticeship market and whilst it was introduced to increase take-up, the trend nationally has been a continued decline; and
· How the Council was responding to the skills challenges through the Our Manchester Industrial Strategy and the Work and Skills Strategy 2016/20.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committees discussions were:-
· As there was not a direct match between the sectors identified as unique and an asset to the region and the sectors that had been identified as key growth sectors, it was queried as to where the Council should prioritise for skills and investment - the unique sectors where fewer Manchester residents worked or the foundational economy;
· Should greater consideration be given to a more broader base of skills provision, such as digital skills;
· How were employment opportunities within the foundation economy being taken into consideration as there was concern that these were not being taken into account as areas of employment that were of worthwhile employment;
· There was concern that with the hollowing out of the intermediary economy, there would not be enough opportunities within those sectors identified as unique and an asset to the city, for those employed within the foundation economy who had aspirations of working in higher level knowledge based employment;
· It was highlighted that the Government’s Apprenticeship Strategy had been an abject failure and many people had been let down by this scheme, as such was the Council lobbying for something less unwielding to the current Apprenticeship Levy;
· There was concern around the language used in connection to the foundation economy and the negative connotations this often brought about;
· It needed to be acknowledged that there was value to be added in many jobs associated with the foundation economy, and there also needed to acknowledge that some people wanted to work and progress within the areas that were considered to be in the foundation economy such as retail, hospitality and social care; and
· Had any analysis been undertaken on the effect of the increase in the national living wage might have on the viability of some sub sectors of the foundation economy.
The Head of Work and Skills advised that the work of the Council focussed on getting people into good quality, sustainable employment and the Adult Education and Skills Plan would look at how the Council could create better opportunities for Manchester residents to secure employment within such sectors. She then referred Member to examples of this within the report, citing the opportunities that would be brought about by the Factory Project and also work to date at Airport City.
In terms of the foundation economy and high end economy, it was commented that these could not be separated as the foundation economy was the bedrock that supported other economies. The Local Industrial Strategy would aim to look at utilising the levers available to make a real difference within the foundation economy, such as the provision of the real living wage, investment in skill development by employers and working with the anchor institutions within the city were contributing and providing opportunities for Manchester residents. The Head of Work and Skills acknowledged the difficulties in moving from the foundation economy to the higher level skills economy due to the hollowing out of the intermediary economy and provided examples of steps being taken to try and address this.
The Head of Work and Skills advised that in terms of the Apprenticeship Levy, there had been a number of asks of Government at a Greater Manchester level but there was no appetite from Government to change the current arrangements at present. The Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Skills acknowledged that the current apprenticeship scheme was not working effectively and agreed to lobby government for a change to the scheme.
The Head of Work and Skills commented that there had been research undertaken on the national living wage and the real living wage in terms of impact on individuals and families in terms of family income, but was not aware of any research on the impact at a sector/sub sector level. She agreed to investigate this and report back to the Committee.
The Committee notes the report.