Analysis, by Hatch Regeneris for the University and College Union (@UCU), shows universities are often among the largest local employers. 

Universities typically support up to one additional job in the immediate local economy for every person they directly employ, according to a new analysis released today (Friday).

  • Analysis finds universities support around one additional job for every person they employ
  • Review highlights universities’ crucial role in areas at heart of the Government’s levelling up agenda
  • Report details billions universities generate for local economies

It found that 19 UK institutions directly employ more than 5,000 people, with 10 of these individually accounting for at least 5% of all jobs in their local authority area. 

The positive effects of universities on local employment are compounded where cities host more than one institution. The review modelled universities in 25 cities and looked at the number of jobs they support and how they bolster local economies*.

It estimates that 22,000 jobs in Manchester, 150,000 in London, 18,000 in Birmingham, 22,000 in Glasgow, 29,000 in Edinburgh and 15,000 in Cardiff are dependent directly or indirectly on their universities.

The study also showed the critical importance of single institutions to smaller towns and cities. The researchers cite St Andrews where students make up a third of the local population and the university supports over 4,000 jobs.

Universities bring relatively high wages to these areas as well as associated skilled jobs across a range of occupations including construction, engineering and entertainment. This includes places such as Plymouth, Middlesbrough, Stoke and Swansea where at least 5% of local jobs are linked in one way or another to the local institution.

In the North-East, there are more people directly employed in higher education (20,000) than there are in car manufacturing (9,000). These jobs are at a range of skill levels, but, on average, they are high-quality and well-paid. The average salary at the University of Sunderland, for example, is more than a third higher than the average for all jobs in the city. 

The review analysed 74 existing studies of institutions’ impact and modelled a further 90 in order to produce the comprehensive picture of UK universities’ role in their local economy. It produced detailed analysis of 25 cities highlighting the number of jobs universities support and measuring their economic contribution.

The analysis looks at goods and services produced locally through universities’ supply chains and the money spent by employees and students. The figures show how universities are often among the single largest contributors to the local economy.

UCU general secretary Jo Grady said:

‘This review shows that universities are a very significant factor in many local economies. Allowing universities to fail because of the health crisis will mean the economies of many of our towns and cities will also fail. Universities are vital in providing educational opportunities, but they also have a huge impact in creating local jobs, supporting local businesses, and attracting business to the area.

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‘With every university job leading to another job in the local area, it is now vital that instead of talking our universities down the government protects them. The Welsh government has led the way and the Westminster government now needs to come up with a comprehensive financial support package to ensure that no institution will fail.’

Hatch Regeneris director Tim Fanning said:

‘The evidence from this review implies that areas hosting institutions that are vulnerable to contraction could be exposed to a wider economic shock - even before we consider the effect on access to university, local labour markets, and research and innovation.

‘From the point of view of the government’s levelling up agenda, the data also shows that places that are lagging behind economically are sometimes especially dependent on their local university.’

Recent YouGov polling for UCU highlighted how people recognised the importance of their local university on jobs and the economy. Two-thirds (66%) said they feared that there would be a negative impact on the local economy if student numbers dropped as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. While three-quarters (75%) feared a negative impact should a local university go bust. 

A third of those in work (33%) said the local university was important to their own job. While over two-fifths (42%) said they knew someone who studied or worked at a local university, or whose employment depended at least in part on the university.

A report from UCU in April warned of a £2.5bn loss in income for universities from a drop in student numbers, which would result in a £6bn hit for the economy. While a report from the Institute for Fiscal Studies earlier this month predicted that the pandemic would leave some universities struggling to survive

Last month UCU launched its Fund The Future campaign, which calls on the government to provide emergency support for universities to cover income lost due to the pandemic.

City

Institution

Direct jobs within the uni (FTE)

All jobs (including supply chain, induced, student and visitor spend)

indirect, induced, student and visitor related jobs

Multiplier (=ratio between direct jobs and all jobs)

Total local GVA, £m (including multipliers)

Birmingham

Aston University

1,790

3,050

1,260

1.71

160

Birmingham City University

2,520

4,600

2,080

1.82

280

Newman University

310

550

240

1.75

30

The University of Birmingham

7,450

8,700

1,250

1.17

530

University College Birmingham

580

1,000

420

1.74

60

All Birmingham

12,640

17,910

5,270

1.42

1,050

Bradford

The University of Bradford

1,260

2,100

840

1.67

120

All Bradford

1,260

2,100

840

1.67

120

Brighton

The University of Brighton

2,410

4,900

2,490

2.04

480

The University of Sussex

2,570

5,180

2,610

2.02

340

All Brighton

4,970

10,080

5,110

2.03

820

Bristol

The University of Bristol

6,580

16,030

9,450

2.44

920

University of the West of England, Bristol

3,220

7,830

4,610

2.44

400

All Bristol

9,800

23,860

14,060

2.44

1,320

Cambridge

Anglia Ruskin University

1,960

3,770

1,810

1.92

240

The University of Cambridge

11,310

24,700

13,390

2.18

1,800

All Cambridge

13,260

28,460

15,200

2.15

2,040

Cardiff

Cardiff Metropolitan University

1,140

2,310

1,170

2.03

140

Cardiff University

6,040

9,360

3,320

1.55

500

University of South Wales

1,980

3,070

1,090

1.55

260

All Cardiff

9,160

14,740

5,580

1.61

900

Coventry

Coventry University

4,020

6,130

2,110

1.53

390

The University of Warwick

6,230

7,560

1,330

1.21

530

All Coventry

10,240

12,400

2,160

1.34

920

Edinburgh

Edinburgh Napier University

1,430

2,900

1,470

2.03

350

Heriot-Watt University

1,800

3,830

2,030

2.13

180

Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh

420

840

420

2.03

50

The University of Edinburgh

10,480

21,310

10,830

2.03

1,420

All Edinburgh

14,120

28,880

14,760

2.05

2,000

Glasgow

Glasgow Caledonian University

1,400

5,920

4,520

4.24

480

Glasgow School of Art

450

700

250

1.55

40

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

290

430

140

1.5

30

The University of Glasgow

6,340

9,000

2,660

1.42

500

The University of Strathclyde

3,580

5,530

1,950

1.55

350

All Glasgow

12,050

21,570

9,520

1.79

1,400

Hull

The University of Hull

2,300

4,100

1,800

1.78

370

All Hull

2,300

4,100

1,800

1.78

370

Leeds

Leeds Arts University

240

410

170

1.73

20

Leeds Beckett University

2,340

4,180

1,840

1.79

250

Leeds Trinity University

380

670

290

1.79

40

The University of Leeds

7,710

11,680

3,970

1.52

730

All Leeds

10,650

16,930

6,280

1.59

1,040

Leicester

De Montfort University

2,340

4,400

2,060

1.88

250

The University of Leicester

3,460

5,190

1,730

1.5

310

All Leicester

5,800

9,590

3,790

1.65

560

Liverpool

Liverpool Hope University

630

1,080

450

1.71

60

Liverpool John Moores University

2,470

4,900

2,430

1.98

260

Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine

520

640

120

1.23

50

The Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts

140

220

80

1.62

10

The University of Liverpool

5,600

10,790

5,190

1.93

650

All Liverpool

9,360

17,620

8,260

1.88

1,030

Lincoln

Bishop Grosseteste University

320

480

160

1.54

20

The University of Lincoln

1,770

2,350

580

1.33

180

All Lincoln

2,080

2,830

750

1.36

200

Manchester

Royal Northern College of Music

240

390

150

1.67

20

The Manchester Metropolitan University

3,940

7,630

3,690

1.94

400

The University of Manchester

10,250

13,970

3,720

1.36

830

All Manchester

14,420

21,990

7,570

1.53

1,250

Middlesbrough

Teesside University

1,670

2,980

1,310

1.79

170

All Middlesbrough

1,670

2,980

1,310

1.79

170

Newcastle

Newcastle University

5,680

8,850

3,170

1.56

490

University of Northumbria at Newcastle

2,720

4,670

1,950

1.72

280

All Newcastle

8,400

13,520

5,120

1.61

770

Nottingham

The Nottingham Trent University

3,800

7,340

3,540

1.93

580

University of Nottingham

7,110

8,750

1,640

1.23

720

All Nottingham

10,910

16,090

5,180

1.48

1,300

Oxford

Oxford Brookes University

2,000

4,370

170

2.19

170

The University of Oxford

13,180

28,790

2,000

2.18

2,000

All Oxford

15,180

33,160

2,160

2.18

2,160

Plymouth

Plymouth College of Art

230

360

130

1.6

20

University of Plymouth

2,530

4,780

2,250

1.89

270

University of St Mark and St John

270

490

220

1.86

30

All Plymouth

3,020

5,630

2,610

1.87

320

Sheffield

Sheffield Hallam University

3,670

9,340

5,670

2.54

420

The University of Sheffield

6,850

10,180

3,330

1.49

670

All Sheffield

10,520

19,520

9,000

1.86

1,090

Southampton

Solent University

1,130

3,730

2,600

3.3

190

The University of Southampton

5,670

14,020

8,350

2.47

900

All Southampton

6,800

17,750

10,950

2.61

1,090

Stoke-on-Trent

Keele University

1,810

3,420

1,610

1.89

160

Staffordshire University

1,150

2,750

1,600

2.39

120

All Stoke-on-Trent

2,960

6,170

3,210

2.09

280

Wolverhampton

The University of Wolverhampton

2,200

3,730

1,530

1.7

220

All Wolverhampton

2,200

3,730

1,530

1.7

220

London

Birkbeck College

1,130

2,810

1,680

2.49

170

Brunel University London

1,940

7,560

5,620

3.9

510

City, University of London

2,120

5,810

3,690

2.74

400

Conservatoire for Dance and Drama

400

770

370

1.93

10

Courtauld Institute of Art

140

310

170

2.21

40

Goldsmiths College

1,360

3,700

2,340

2.72

230

Guildhall School of Music and Drama

320

700

380

2.19

40

Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine

7,840

16,330

8,490

2.08

1,310

King's College London

7,420

17,100

9,680

2.3

1,220

Kingston University

1,670

3,850

2,180

2.31

220

London Business School

810

1,680

870

2.07

190

London Metropolitan University

880

2,620

1,740

2.98

150

London School of Economics and Political Science

2,930

6,720

3,790

2.29

590

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

1,420

2,180

760

1.54

190

London South Bank University

1,400

4,180

2,780

2.99

310

Middlesex University

1,730

5,310

3,580

3.07

370

Queen Mary University of London

4,380

7,780

3,400

1.78

560

Ravensbourne University London

230

740

510

3.22

50

Roehampton University

980

3,280

2,300

3.35

220

Rose Bruford College of Theatre and Performance

70

210

140

3

20

Royal Academy of Music

220

500

280

2.27

30

Royal College of Art

390

990

600

2.54

100

Royal College of Music

230

510

280

2.22

40

SOAS University of London

940

2,020

1,080

2.15

140

St George's, University of London

770

1,850

1,080

2.4

130

St Mary's University, Twickenham

620

1,740

1,120

2.81

100

The Institute of Cancer Research

1,030

1,840

810

1.79

210

The Royal Central School of Speech and Drama

200

420

220

2.1

30

The Royal Veterinary College

910

1,630

720

1.79

120

The University College of Osteopathy

80

190

110

2.38

10

The University of East London

1,250

3,770

2,520

3.02

240

The University of Greenwich

1,680

5,210

3,530

3.1

340

The University of West London

950

1,850

900

1.95

90

The University of Westminster

1,600

5,120

3,520

3.2

410

Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance

280

650

370

2.32

40

University College London

11,980

22,410

10,430

1.87

1,760

University of London (Institutes and activities)

930

1,370

440

1.47

120

University of the Arts, London

2,720

6,790

4,070

2.5

540

All London

65,950

152,500

86,550

2.31

11,250

 

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