Dudley, Sandwell, Walsall and Wolverhampton make up the Black Country Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).
The largest employment sectors in the area include retail and wholesale (84,000 jobs), health and social care (68,000 jobs), manufacturing (60,000 jobs) and business, financial and professional services (over 80,000 jobs).
The Black Country has a strong manufacturing base (14% of jobs compared to 8% in the UK) with high-growth priority sectors included advanced manufacturing, transport technologies, construction and building technologies, environmental technologies, and professional and business services.
Advanced manufacturing is a key industry sector in the Black Country employing over 60,000 workers. A long-standing history of innovation means that there are over 4,300 businesses in the area working at the cutting-edge of technology. Local strengths include motor vehicle, aerospace, metal fabrication, machinery and equipment, advanced materials and plastics. Metal production and maintenance fitters, design and development engineers, and maintenance engineers are in high demand.
The Very Light Rail Innovation Centre set to open in 2022 offers many supply chain opportunities for local SMEs and will create new jobs.
Administration, business and professional services is the second largest employment sector in the Black Country and is set to grow over the next ten years. Over 80,000 people work in the sector in over 9,500 local companies that offer a wide range of services including accounting, financial and legal services, recruitment and employment services, administration support and back-office services, real estate, project management, marketing, commercial and technical support services. Employers in this sector are looking for people with a range of skills including advanced digital skills, communications, leadership and management skills.
Retail, wholesale and automotive vehicles trade account for 84,000 jobs across the Black Country.
Dudley and Sandwell have recently benefited from government funding to regenerate the high street. Merry Hill has the largest shopping centre in the Midlands and is one of the English locations that reported the fastest bounce back in footfall. The pandemic has accelerated the adoption of technology across the sector and there is growing demand for digital skills across all roles.
The Black Country is also home to over 4,500 building technologies and construction businesses employing around 23,500 people. Local sector strengths include modular construction, internal structures and brownfield land remediation. The construction sector is forecast to grow. 76,000 new homes are to be built in the Black Country over the next 20 years while retrofitting houses to improve energy efficiency and large-scale projects such as HS2 and the Commonwealth Games will create many more jobs.
The University of Wolverhampton is a national hub of excellence for construction and the built environment bringing together businesses and the education sector. The National Brownfield Institute being built on its Springfield Campus will become a R&D centre in brownfield regeneration.
The local tourism, leisure and culture sector is made up of 2,220 organisations employing over 23,000 people with many more freelance workers. The Black Country has various sites of interest ranging from the Wren’s Nest National Nature Reserve to canal networks, caverns, museums and art galleries, Dudley castle, industrial structures, parklands and wildlife sites. Major attractions like the Black Country Living Museum and Dudley Zoo attract many visitors for days out. Almost 75% of employees working in the sector are employed in food and beverage services.
Over 120,000 residents work in the public sector across the Black Country in local government, fire service, the police force, the RAF, the health sector and education (42,000 jobs). The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has opened a new office in Wolverhampton. 250 staff will be based in the city by 2022 with over 500 jobs created by 2025. You can expect demand for senior civil servant jobs and highly qualified roles in policy development and planning.
Health and social care represent one of the largest sectors in the Black Country employing over 68,000 people. Most people work in hospitals, social care and residential care. There are many job opportunities in the sector as nurses, social workers, care workers, care managers and roles in patient care are all in high demand.
Key Local Employers
The NHS is the main employer in the Black Country, followed by the four local authorities and the University of Wolverhampton. Other key local employers include:
- AF Blakemore / SPAR UK
- Andrew Sykes Group
- Babcock Vehicle Engineering
- Barratt Homes
- Bromford Housing Association
- Castings plc
- Collins Aerospace
- Cygnet Health Care
- DPD Group
- Dudley College of Technology
- Dudley Zoo and Castle
- Fortel Construction
- Hadley Industries
- Intouch Games
- Lovell / Morgan Sindall
- Midlands Air Ambulance
- Moog Aircraft Group
- Nuffield Health
- OneSavings Bank
- Premier Inn
- Priory Group
- RAC Group
- Sandvik Group
- Sandwell College
- Walsall College
- Walsall Housing Group (WHG)
- West Bromwich Building Society
Last Updated 22 November 2021