Job Sector Insights

Job Sector Insights Header Image 

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 employment sectors in the south west

Aerospace and Advanced Engineering


Creative Industries

Environmental Technologies

Advanced Engineering


Creative Industries

Environmental Tech

Food and Drink

IT, Data and Communications

Leisure, Hospitality and Tourism


Food and Drink

IT, Data and Comms

Leisure and Tourism

Marine Technology