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Job Sector Insights

If you've enjoyed living and studying in the south west, chances are you'll want to develop your career here.

There's a common misconception that opportunities are few and far between. Not so. You just need to know where to look and remain flexible in your approach.

Here's the low down on the south west labour market...

The south west enjoys higher than average employment and was recently judged to be the happiest place to work. Good news so far.

Employment broadly follows the industrial patterns of England. The three largest sectors are wholesale and retail, human health and social work activities, and manufacturing.

In contrast to England, the south west has relatively high employment in agriculture, forestry and fishing and accommodation and food service activities.

Conversely, it has comparatively low numbers employed in information and communications, professional, scientific and technical activities, and administrative and support activities.

However the regional picture masks substantial sub regional variations:

  • Poole, Somerset and Gloucestershire have relatively high levels of manufacturing
  • Cornwall and Somerset employ nearly 20% of the workforce in wholesale and retail
  • The highest levels of financial and insurance activities are in Bournemouth, Bristol and Swindon
  • South Gloucestershire, Dorset and North Somerset have the highest prevalence of jobs in public administration and defence

Key Sectors 







Advanced Engineering


Biotechnology


Creative Industries


Environmental Technologies














Food and Drink


IT & Communications


Leisure and Tourism


Marine Technologies