Borough tops national employment rankings

by Jim Dunton Tue 4 February 2014, 3:00 pm

Reading has the highest proportion of residents in work of any of the UK's 64 biggest towns and cities, according to new research.

Economic think-tank Centre for Cities said in its Cities Outlook 2014 report that the borough had a 78.1 per cent  employment rate during the year to June 2013, up 1.8 per cent on the previous 12 months.

The report authors said the statistic was indicative of Reading having a “well-functioning” labour market.

Elsewhere, Reading posted average earnings second only to London, at £606 per week compared with London's 2013 average of £634.

It was ranked third on the national table for the number of companies it hosts per 10,000 residents, with 396.8, and fifth in terms of the number of start-ups per 10,000 residents, with 51.9.

Reading also boasted the fifth-highest educated population, based on the proportion of residents with qualifications at NVQ Level Four or higher.

According to the report, 42.6 per cent of its working-age population was said to be educated to the degree-equivalent standard or above in 2012.

Centre for Cities chief executive Alexandra Jones said the report showed positive signs of growth, but called on the government to devolve more powers to the local level to enable individual cities to focus on their core needs.

“Cities Outlook 2014 shows that that the gap between London and other UK cities is widening, but that other cities are making progress,” she said.

“To enable cities to respond to their particular strengths and weaknesses the government should build on City Deals and devolve more funding and powers to UK cities - London and others - so they can generate more of their own income and play to their different strengths.

“This will help ensure this is a sustainable, job-rich recovery across the country.”

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