Wales

Wales' industrial challenge - in five charts

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As the UK government launches its industrial strategy - what could this mean for Welsh business and the workforce looking ahead? Here are five charts which show some of the main issues and some of the particular challenges ahead in Wales.

Industry is certainly different from the days of large-scale steel-making and coal mining. Or for that matter in the 1990s, when we made a range of household electronic products like TVs and microwaves.

But even in more recent years, the sorts of jobs we are doing is changing. This chart shows the ups and downs in the number of employees in Wales in different sectors in recent years. Numbers have gone down in manufacturing, transport and finance but risen in the food and hospitality as well as the health and social care sector.

Welsh Government supports investment in priority sectors in the economy - which account for 45% of jobs and two thirds of the businesses.

This chart shows the growth in the numbers of enterprises in some of those key areas over the last decade.

Life sciences, which was the focus of investment announcements in Manchester and London, is the smallest sector in Wales, employing 10,700 people, but is still growing. And these are highly valuable jobs in terms of both salaries and a positive impact on the UK and Wales' low productivity.

Financial and professional services is the biggest employer among the priority sectors.

The Chancellor in his Budget last week talked about the UK's problem of low productivity. What we produce in an hour is a big problem for the UK and also for Wales.

The recession of 2008 hit Britain more than others countries and performance has not recovered.

This chart shows how the UK and other countries are performing compared to the United States.

Workers in France and Germany produce on average as much in four days as UK workers take five days to make.

But look at Ireland - it has seen a spectacular growth in productivity.

When you drill down to look at how Wales compares with other parts of the UK for productivity per employee, it is a little over 70% of the the UK average - that is lower than 20 years ago.

A lot of the headlines in the strategy centre around new technologies. But what about people's skills? We need more workers equipped to take advantage of the new industries.

Latest estimates say 9.5% of working age adults in Wales have no qualifications at all. That figure rises to 23% of people who are unemployed or economically inactive. Two of our most deprived areas, Blaenau Gwent and Merthyr, both have 16% of working-age adults with no qualifications.

The overall figure for Wales shows an improvement over recent years though - and there is also a rise in the proportion of people with higher qualifications, such as NQF level 4 and degrees.

The UK government will identify more areas of support in the near future

But as well the question as to whether the strategy will lift living standards, the big question is whether it will make wider the inequalities between Wales and parts of England - and also widen inequalities within Wales?

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