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Jobs and pay: how does Brighton compare?

Are more people freelancers or setting up their own businesses in Brighton and Hove than in other areas? What about pay levels: are they higher or lower here than in neighbouring towns?

Interesting and revealing details about the kinds of jobs, pay and new business launches in the local economy are set out in a new report from Brighton and Hove City Council, using figures from the Office of National Statistics.

The report reveals higher salaries for residents who work outside the city, high rates of self-employed people (especially men) and connections between the growth of new jobs and business launches with the city’s burgeoning digital business industry.

The city’s employment rate was 73.7% last year which is 147,500 residents aged 16-64. The 1 in 4 people who are not employed include students as well as people out of work. The employment rate for Brighton and Hove has increased from 71.6% in 2011, but by 2014 it was still 2% lower than neighbouring areas in the South-East region.

Are these jobs full-time and well-paid? The report shows that almost 2 in 5 jobs are part-time. The 37.8% figure for Brighton and Hove is higher than the levels of part-time jobs in the South-East region at 33.5% and the national level of 32.3%.

However, the numbers of full-time jobs have increased since 2010, although figures are not included in the report. The city is the only part of the Coast to Capital region where the number of full-time jobs has grown – in all other parts of this region, which stretches from Lewes to Chichester and up to Croydon, the number of full-time roles has gone down.

Where are jobs being created? Of the 9,464 new jobs, 8,210 are in the private sector and 6,350 are full-time positions, making a third of new roles part-time. In terms of industries, two-thirds of the new jobs are in “Knowledge Intensive Business Services” including professional, scientific and technical roles as well as finance, IT, health and business administration and support.

This puts Brighton and Hove in 30th place among the 380 local authorities for the highest numbers of new jobs created. Of the top 30 areas, half are in London.

The city has high levels of self-employed people: 13.5% of working people are self-employed, which is 2% higher than the rest of the South East and significantly higher than the national 10% rate. There are also big differences by gender: more than 17% of men are self-employed (almost 1 in 6 working men) which is nearly double the 9.6% rate for women.

The highest areas for self-employed people are in construction at 55% and 36% in professional, scientific and technical roles including the digital business industry. One ongoing trend, although it’s not cited in the report, is the high level of freelance developers and designers due to a shortage of potential employees for these roles with digital businesses.

What about salaries? Pay levels depend on whether you live and work in Brighton and Hove or if you live in the city but travel to work outside. The average pay for residents is £28,262 per year, which is £2,200 higher than the average pay of £26,046 for jobs based in Brighton and Hove.

On this point, the report said: “This is a reflection of high-skilled residents commuting outside of the city for higher paid jobs (predominantly in London).”

Around 300 new businesses were set up in 2013, an increase of 3.5% to 13,435 active businesses. However, this 21% increase in the city’s new businesses was lower than the 28.5% national rate.

The number of businesses closing declined by a total of 10 firms in the same year, with 1,380 businesses closing. Overall, 1 in 6 businesses launched in 2013 and 1 in 10 closed in the same year. These businesses can include sole traders and small start-ups.

The report said: “Brighton and Hove business births have not risen by as much as nationally in 2013 but are still significantly higher per head (of the city’s population) and per head of working age compared to the UK. London has matched the 28.5% increase seen nationally, from an already very high rate of births per head.  Brighton and Hove’s overall count of enterprises grew at a higher percentage rate than that of Great Britain in 2013.”

Productivity is also lower in Brighton and Hove than the South-East. Defined as the gross value added per head, the city’s rate of just under £23,000 is 11.2% lower than the South-East’s £25,843 level.

The report said: “This indicates that our local economy is yet to fulfil its potential and under-employment remains an issue.”


By Brian