Make it in the Midlands

What does staying local offer?  

Birmingham and the surrounding area is one of the most culturally diverse in the UK and its age profile makes it Europe’s youngest city. It has a vibrant arts scene. The growth of its business and professional services, retail, leisure and tourism industries has created many new and exciting job opportunities.  

Jobs in Birmingham

According to the Cushman and Wakefield European Cities Monitor 2009, Birmingham is rated among the top 15 best cities in Europe in which to locate a business. It is home to around 31,000 companies, and provides space for more than 300 organisations based outside the UK who have operations here. More than £13 billion is to be invested in its infrastructure development as a city of global importance over the next decade. Birmingham also has around 200 law firms, many top accountancy firms, 50 major property services, banking specialists and one of Europe’s largest insurance markets. As well as multinational and large employers such as Arup, Atkins, BBC, Deutsche Bank, Dolland and Aitchinson, E-on, Fujitsu, Jaguar Landrover, Muller and Severn Trent Water, to name but a few large employers, the West Midlands is home to numerous small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), some at the cutting edge of new technological developments.  

The service sector has seen the most significant growth in terms of employment and wealth generation in the region. Jobs in health and education, finance and business services and the creative industries have all increased. Despite the decline in manufacturing, particularly within the automotive industry, the demand for higher level skills has continued to increase and in recent years, businesses and higher education institutions have worked together on ‘cluster’ programmes to promote collaboration and investment in the growth of regional science, technology and engineering industries. Wind turbine generators, serious games (games used to explore business and management issues, for example), assistive living technologies, low carbon vehicles, advanced materials and products with an impact on climate change are all currently being developed by companies in the West Midlands.  

Where to work in the Midlands

Regeneration in Birmingham and the surrounding area has had a dramatic effect in recent years. Existing investment in the region’s higher level skills include:  

  • Eastside - the learning, technology and heritage quarter with Millennium Point at its centre.   
  • The three technology corridors promoting high value manufacturing - the Central Technology Belt with areas of expertise such as medical sciences, materials engineering and environmental technologies; the Coventry, Solihull and Warwickshire Triangle, an area of strong, established high-technology transport, information and communications technology and building technology businesses; and the Wolverhampton and Telford Technology Corridor, whose strengths include aerospace, advanced engineering and polymers. Growth areas include information technology, building technologies and creative industries.   
  • Blythe Valley - this business and community park in Solihull houses a business and innovation start up centre, Arup and Scott Wilson engineering consultancies, UKA the national governing body for athletics, Infor and Oracle business software support organisations, in addition to property management, business solutions, and leisure and fitness companies.   
  • The Jewellery Quarter - home to more than 1500 businesses, this is the centre for specialist jewellery manufacturing and designing as well as retailing. It also has a growing entertainment, commercial and professional business sector.   
  • Longbridge - plans have been approved to create 10,000 employment opportunities and homes and already building work has begun on the new Bournville College site. The technology park has attracted local, national and start up technology based businesses including the University of Birmingham’s spin out nanotechnology company Inanovate. Plans are afoot to create new urban parks, shopping centres and a proposed museum and community resource: the ‘Austin Centre’ which will celebrate the importance of the area’s automotive history.   

Proposed developments for Birmingham include:  

  • Westside - there are plans to harmonise existing cultural, leisure and retail zones with new housing, as well as to encourage specialist and niche shops to the area.   
  • The Gun Quarter - new business and residential developments are being considered for this former industrial area.   

Birmingham graduates who have stayed local: what do they do?  

The types of jobs graduates get depend on degree subject, the level of previous experience and whether they know what direction they want to take.  

80% of businesses in the West Midlands are small, bringing a wide range of opportunities for graduates to work in different types of organisations in addition to large companies operating in the region.  

Most graduates when entering the workplace will go into one of the following:  

  • Graduate level jobs which will include training.   
  • Permanent jobs where a degree is not essential and which will help you gain appropriate experience. Graduates hope they can progress to a more demanding role later on. Examples are customer service roles, learning support assistant in schools, administrative jobs in public services such as the City Council or in the finance industry.   
  • Temporary work often gained through a recruitment agency perhaps while still applying for graduate jobs or as part of a planned period of ‘time out’ after graduation. Most often these jobs are in retail, catering or clerical work in the public or finance sector.   

Examples of jobs from recent graduates who stayed in the region include:   

  • Town planning assistant (local council)   
  • Education / learning support worker (local primary school)   
  • Market research manager (research company)   
  • Insurance broker (major insurance firm)   
  • Tax consultant (large professional services firm)    
  • Civil engineer (large consultancy)   
  • Conservation officer (government conservation agency)   
  • Public relations executive (consultancy firm)   
  • Bank manager (national bank)   
  • Fitness instructor (health club)   
  • Advertising executive (advertising agency)   
  • Sales representative (construction firm)   
  • Personnel officer (energy company)   
  • Teacher (English as a Foreign Language)   
  • Recruitment consultant (consultancy firm)   
  • Finance analyst (bank)   

Where to look for jobs  

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