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A guide to jobs in Birmingham

Published: Sunday 28th May 2017

Centrally located with a large population and excellent transport links to the rest of the country, Birmingham has long laid claim to being England’s second city. Its core industries have changed over the years and the city now offers a very different landscape for anyone looking for jobs in Birmingham. There are 31,000 businesses in Birmingham, employing 500,000 people, and 601 of these are international firms. It’s a fairly well-educated city with 173,300 people of working age holding a degree.

Employment and jobs in Birmingham

The unemployment rate, however, is higher than the national average of 6.2% at 9.8%. In the West Midlands area as a whole it is 6.8%. The good news is that the Birmingham figure has dropped from 10.9% between January and December 2014. Of those who are in employment, 13% are self-employed (332k), 27.7% have a part-time job and the temporary workforce is 5%. These figures include the 3.5% of people with second jobs. Among those temporary workers a third of them (33.6%) are looking for a full-time position and among part-time workers that figure is 18.3%.

Victoria Square in Birmingham, England, United Kingdom

Prevalent Industries

Sectorwise, the big employers in the West Midlands are in the motor vehicle wholesale and retail trades (455k worker or 16.4% of the total) although this sector has seen a dip of 4,000 jobs since 2013. Human health and social work activities account for 12.8% of the working age population, or 357k people, an 8,000 increase on 2013. Manufacturing has always been a key industry in the Midlands and that continues to be the case with 317k workers (11.4% of the total and up 18,000).

The construction industry has witnessed a slight slowdown with 15,000 fewer jobs in this sector since 2013 but it still employs 169k, or 6.1% of the total. Agriculture, forestry and fishing accounts for just 1.5% of jobs in the West Midlands but has seen a rise in numbers to 41,000 workers while finance and insurance, public administration, water supply and waste services and mining and quarrying have all dipped between 1% and 5%.

Jobs in Birmingham and cost of living

City street with motion blurred crowds of people

For anyone considering moving and looking for jobs in Birmingham, the cost of living figures make interesting reading when compared with London. You would need around £4,228.51 in London to maintain the same standard of life that you can have with £2,500 in Birmingham (assuming you rent in both cities). In addition, consumer prices are 28.4% lower in Birmingham than in the capital, restaurant prices are nearly half what they are in London and general groceries are 14% lower in the Midlands. You can expect to pay around £3 for a pint of beer in Birmingham compared to nearly £4 a pint in London.


Finally, if you have a family you might want to know that Birmingham has 200 primary schools, 36 secondaries and 98 academies. With 51 infant and nursery schools, moving to Birmingham with young children shouldn’t present too many schooling problems.

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