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How the knowledge economy varies by region

This chart shows how the different regions and nations of the UK have developed their knowledge economies over the past 15 years. It presents the proportion of knowledge workers (both public and private sector) on the horizontal axis, with Gross Value Added (GVA – a measure of economic output) per job on the vertical axis. The size of each bubble shows the total size of each region’s economy.

The data highlights a few simple, but important, points about how the UK economy is changing:

  • The economy has been getting more knowledge-intensive in all parts of the UK. Both the proportion of knowledge workers and the value of each job have risen in every region of the UK.
  • London is a more knowledge-intensive and high-value economy than any other part of the UK, with the South East consistently second, but still some way behind. Over the past 15 years many of the other regions have caught up with London in terms of the share of knowledge workers, but London has continued to leave the rest behind in terms of value per job.
  • Places with more knowledge workers tend to have higher GVA per job. This is an obvious point, but it is important: if towns and cities want to boost prospects for both knowledge and non-knowledge workers, then they need to grow the innovative, knowledge-based parts of their economies.

    The Big Innovation Centre will be doing more work on the regional innovation gap under our markets, places and networks theme. At the same time, The Work Foundation’s cities 2020 programme is doing excellent work looking at how innovation works in British cities.