By Wendy Butterworth - Careers & Welfare Manager

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A street in Manchester city centre

Key Industries in Greater Manchester

So last time we looked at some of the top growth industries in Greater Manchester (GM), now let’s look at other industries, which are vital to the local economy. These are seen as high-employment industries, so are being focused on as part of Greater Manchester’s Strategy.

Retail & Wholesale Distribution

The sector currently employs around 197,700 people in Greater Manchester, with 25% of its workforce under the age of 25. However, retail employment has grown significantly in the over 60 age group. This means in addition to growth in the sector, there will also be a high demand for replacement jobs due to a retiring workforce. First Aid and Health & Safety, Food Hygiene, and Basic English & Maths are the most valued skills by employers.

Hospitality, Tourism & Sport

This is a big sector in the area as not only does it attract International visitors, but local residents also enjoy the sites and attractions the area has to offer. Manchester is the most visited city after London by overseas visitors. Currently employing around 99,100 people, this sector is expected to grow by a further 20,300 jobs. A wide range of skills are required in this industry, but at present there is a significant shortage in managerial skills.


The sector employs around 88,000 people across approximately 9,405 businesses. You only have to look around the city to see cranes popping up showing there is a lot of activity in the area. New residential blocks, offices and industry spaces are being built around GM. In addition there is also the investment in building a stronger infrastructure, such as developing Manchester Airport and HS2.

A key priority in the Greater Manchester Strategy is to ensure “Good Jobs, with the opportunities for people to progress and develop”. This includes ensuring young people leave education with the necessary skills to succeed in the labour market. There is also a target to ensure by 2020 that 38.3% of the GM working age population hold Level 4 and above qualifications in order to meet employer needs and reduce the current skills gap.

There are potentially a lot of opportunities going ahead for people to upskill and progress in their working lives. Have a look at the opportunities available to you – training, education, apprenticeships and employment. The choice is yours and we’re here to help.

Speak to a Careers & Welfare adviser on your site and continue to follow this blog. You can also follow the Careers & Welfare team on Twitter @CareersTMC

Information sources – “Our People Our Place” – The Greater Manchester Strategy; Bridge GM and CITB – Construction in the Greater Manchester LEP area.