Working in the Black Country

Use this information to expand your knowledge of the Black Country.


Information on the Black Country

The Black Country is located next to Birmingham and covers the towns of Dudley, Halesowen and Stourbridge; West Bromwich in Sandwell, Wolverhampton and Walsall. The region is becoming better connected to the rest of the West Midlands through the Metro extension, a new interchange in Dudley, and new railway stations. In turn, this attracts regeneration and growth as businesses will relocate to the region.

Sector strengths

Advanced Manufacturing

The area has a rich history in manufacturing and engineering and this drives the industry forward. The sector includes a number of sub-sectors ranging from the manufacture of metals and machinery and chemical treatments to tooling, food and drink and the manufacture of furniture and equipment. Manufacturing is not low skilled, there are many emerging jobs in this sector that don’t exist yet!

Key facts

  • The Black Country’s Advanced Manufacturing sector contributes £3bn to the UK economy and is forecast to grow by £2.5bn by 2030.
  • Employs 67,000 people and has 3,985 businesses operating in the sector.

Caparo Innovation Centre

The centre provides new product development services to UK businesses including technical and commercial screening reviews, intellectual property services and design and prototyping services. 

University of Wolverhampton Science Park

There is a broad range of technological and creative disciplines located here, including software development, environmental management, engineering design and consultancy, photography and videography, graphics, website design, water technology, training and education, biocidal coatings, healthcare and business support services.

Engineering and Computer Science Research Centre

Based at the University of Wolverhampton, the centre undertakes research in the areas of aerospace and automotive engineering, rapid manufacturing and prototyping, material science and advanced manufacturing. Wolverhampton and Walsall form the main part of the Midlands’ aerospace cluster.

Professional Services 

Administration, business and professional services 

This 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. The Waterfront in Merry Hill is a hub for this type of employment.

Some top companies in the area include:

The Express & Star, which is the biggest selling regional newspaper in the UK, thus offering opportunities in journalism. A & J Mucklow Group (Halesowen) is the largest quoted investment property company in the Midlands. Talbots Law is also a big employer in the region, having offices around the Black Country, Birmingham and Worcestershire. Finally, Charter Court Financial Services employs over 350 people and is headquartered in Wolverhampton. In 2016, it was ranked 10th in the Sunday Times Best 100 companies to work for.

Upcoming strengths

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has opened a new office in Wolverhampton. There will be 500 jobs created by 2025. You can expect demand for senior civil servant jobs and highly qualified roles in policy development and planning.

Dudley Business First and Innovation Enterprise Zone is a high tech office hub that opened in 2017. The Enterprise Zone will create 7,000 new jobs over 25 years, offering low cost and high-quality office space to manufacturing and technology businesses. The Waterfront office complex is home to many professional service and high tech employers. The zone is expanding continually. The Dudley regeneration is also encouraging new businesses to be located here. The area is becoming better connected to the rest of the region and is also set to benefit from HS2.

There is a new acute general hospital being built in Smethwick that will also act as a catalyst to wider regeneration within the area such as the housing schemes and related jobs.

How to use this information

Make a speculative application

Sometimes jobs or work experience are created by initially approaching an individual at an organisation: face to face, by phone or by email. More information on making effective speculative applications can be found on the Prospects website and on Careers Network’s speculative application preparation online pages

Useful links to find work in the Black Country

Other West Midlands regional information


Professional Services