Shropshire – Herefordshire - Telford & Wrekin (The Marches)

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The Marches - Snapshot of local labour market

The Marches has three main cities - Telford, Shrewsbury and Hereford - and  over 30 market towns that are important economic and employment centres serving the rural areas.

Key economic sectors include manufacturing (36,000 workforce jobs), business and professional services (over 46,000 jobs), retail and wholesale (51,000 jobs), health and social care (43,000 jobs), education (24,000) and construction (13,000 jobs).

Almost 70% of manufacturing jobs are in the metals, machinery, materials and automotive sectors. The Marches is home to global manufacturers and a well-established supply chain of SMEs producing batteries, lightweight materials and composites.

Business and professional services cover a wide range of sub-sectors such as financial and legal services, real estate, accounting, facilities management, HR, office administration and support services. Around 7,470 businesses work in this sector; most of them are concentrated around Telford.

The Marches’ rich agricultural tradition has led to a thriving food and drink sector that supports over 9,000 jobs with specialisations in cider and fruit wines, and meat and dairy processing. Food and drink processing is part of a complex agri-food supply chain in the Marches. Companies of various sizes are involved in the supply side, producing raw materials from farming, feed and other inputs. Leading research into food production and processing takes place at Harper Adams University and its Regional Food Academy in Telford & Wrekin.

Agriculture remains an important sector with 20,634 farm workers and 460,000 hectares of farmed land, making up 77.2% of total land in the Marches. Linked to its strengths across agri-food, the Marches is developing a nationally significant agri-tech cluster with specialisms in advanced engineering and precision farming. The sector  develops innovative solutions to sustainably increase agricultural yields and productivity.

Visitor Economy - the Marches’ natural, cultural and heritage assets are essential to attracting people to the area. The visitor economy is a large employer with 21,000 jobs in accommodation and food services, supporting thousands more jobs in related sectors such as museums, transport, and visitor and leisure attractions. Almost half of employment in the hospitality sector is concentrated in Shopshire.

There are around 3,150 construction businesses in the area, and they are mostly based in Shrewsbury, Telford and Hereford. Nearly two third of jobs (62%) are in specialised construction trades like electrical installation, plumbing, joining, roofing, painting, scaffolding and plastering.

The health and social care sector employs 21,500 people in healthcare, 9,000 in residential care and 8,500 people in other social care services. This sector is expected to experience a growth in demand with an increasing gap in provision for the elderly as the population ages. The Marches has emerging capabilities in digital health and assistive technology.

10,000 people work in transport and logistics across Shropshire, Herefordshire and Telford & Wrekin - most of them are employed in either warehousing and storage (5,000 people) or freight and road transport (4,000 people). There are five hotspots for logistics activity all within Telford and Wrekin and north Shropshire. These include parts of Telford, Donnington, the A442 south, Oswestry and Market Drayton. There is a strong link between agri-food, transport and logistics. Food accounts for 50% of the total volume of outbound freight. Several large companies involved in specialist storage and transport are linked to food and drink production in the area, and there are also smaller local freight companies specialising in chilled foods transportation.

Environmental Technologies is an emerging sector. Over 13% of the UK’s anaerobic digesters are located within the Marches, using waste from agriculture and food to produce fuel and generate renewable energy. The Centre for Research into Environmental Science and Technology (CREST) at University Centre Shrewsbury specialises in natural resource management and natural capital management.

The Marches has a longstanding tradition of defence and security and is home to the Special Air Service, military bases and private sector organisations such as G4S Specialist Training HQ. Herefordshire is part of ‘Cyber Valley’, a specialised cluster of cyber companies around Great Malvern. Hereford Enterprise Zone at Skylon Park is the only enterprise zone in the UK with a specialism in defence and security. The Cyber Quarter - Midlands Centre for Cyber Security offer incubation space for 20 new companies, and acts as a hub of research and development, encouraging collaboration and technology transfer between businesses and academics.

Key Employers              Local Labour Market Overview
  • ABP Food Group

  • Avara Foods

  • BAE

  • Barchester Healthcare

  • Capgemini

  • Culina Group

  • DHL

  • Dodd Group

  • G4S

  • GKN

  • Heineken

  • GroContinental

  • Herefordshire Council

  • Kuehne + Nagel

  • Magna International

  • Muller

  • Nuffield Health

  • ReAssure

  • Ricoh

  • Serco Group

  • Shrewsbury and Telford Hospital

  • Shropshire Community Health NHS Trust

  • Shropshire Council

  • Staffline Group

  • Whitbread

  • Wye Valley NHS Trust


Job Market Information

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Last updated 31 August 2023