New research released today (March 10) estimates nearly 6.5 million jobs in the UK are supported by exports, including 12.8% of jobs in Worcester. The report lifts the lid on the value of exporting-led jobs to the UK economy and helps inform the discussion around the untapped exporting potential of businesses across the country.

This ground-breaking research estimates that median wages in jobs directly and indirectly supported by exports were around 7% higher than the national median and that more jobs (3.7 million) are supported by exports to the rest of the world than to the EU (2.8 million). The Office for National Statistics also estimates that goods exporting businesses are 21% more productive than those who do not. It provides a clear rationale for pursuing an exports-led recovery from Covid and using trade liberalisation to boost strategic industries – such as services, tech and renewables – that are key to building back better from the pandemic.

The FAI research estimates the number of jobs supported by exports at a regional level. DIT is exploring how we could develop data that can provide similar insights at an even more local level.

An additional paper released today shows the number of jobs supported by nationally export intensive industries, broken down by constituency. This does not show how many jobs at the local level are export intensive, because local activity can vary significantly from the national average. But the information can act as a starter for a conversation until more granular estimates becomes available. It shows that in Worcester there were some 6655 jobs (12.8% of total) in industries that were export intensive at a national level in 2019.  

The research is accompanied by a new Board of Trade report – Global Britain, Local Jobs – that prescribes a series of policy fixes to unlock the UK’s full exporting potential and propel a trade-led, jobs-led recovery from Covid-19. This includes:

  • Boosting the UK’s role as a global hub for services and digital trade.
  • Pursuing new trade deals with large and fast-growing economies beyond Europe, particularly in the Indo-Pacific.
  • Greater support to help businesses internationalise, and adopt new export targets.

The Board – which is led by International Trade Secretary Liz Truss – argues the UK’s departure from the EU is an opportunity to deepen trade liberalisation and boost the role trade plays in the economy. It argues the UK should follow the likes of Australia, Singapore and New Zealand, who have all used trade liberalisation to spur growth and capture global market share.

The report advocates deeper trade ties with faster growing nations outside Europe, with 65% of the world’s middle classes set to be in the Asia-Pacific by 2030 and nearly 90% of world growth expected to be outside the EU in the next five years.

It recommends the UK ‘ride’ the digital and green waves, highlighting the UK’s comparative advantage in those industries, with the exporting potential of the green economy set to be £170bn per year by 2030, and argues the UK should lead the charge for a more modern, fair and green WTO by working with like-minded allies on issues like industrial subsidies.

The report is being launched at a virtual Board of Trade meeting this morning, hosted by Truss, and will be sent to MPs and Parliamentarians. It comes ahead of next week’s publication of the Government’s Integrated Review of foreign policy, which will set out the strategy for expanding free and fair trade and making our domestic supply chains more resilient in order to drive prosperity in the UK and around the world.

Local MP for Worcester Robin Walker said:

“Over the last year businesses have been faced with the dual challenges of Covid and adapting to new trading conditions outside the European Union. It is therefore welcome news that the work the Department for International Trade has been doing to build trading relationships with our partners overseas has helped protect jobs and businesses across the UK, including here in Worcester.

“Worcester has some major manufacturers who export globally including Mazak, Southtech, and GTech, whose quality products show great British engineering around the world.

“I hope that as we continue to strengthen ties with our friends and allies around the world we continue to support exporters and protect jobs here.”

Liz Truss, International Trade Secretary, said:

“This report shows how Global Britain will deliver jobs and growth across the UK, particularly in areas like the north-west and north-east of England. Export-led jobs are more productive and higher paying, but currently too few businesses export and our economy would benefit from being more international. This potential can be liberated through more trade deals, boosting our role as global hub for digital and services trade, and by pursuing policies that drive an exports-led recovery.

“The opportunity we have as an independent trading nation is huge. Today’s report outlines how we can do things differently and capitalise on defining trends like the emergence of Asia’s middle classes and rapid growth in the Indo-Pacific.”