Employment, Income & Skills

  • Employment

High levels of employment are a key indication that an economy is in good health. Latest figures in 2017/18 reveal the employment rate in Oldham (68.1%) has fluctuated over time but still remains significantly lower than the North West (73.4%) and national average (75.2%).

Employment Chart JSNA

The chart below displays the employment rate across Oldham, Greater Manchester and England as at the 2011 census. The gap between Oldham residents, GM and England is largest in the 35-49 year old group. If the employment rate in Oldham is to be improved, then this cohort needs to be the focus.

Employment Rate age band Chart JSNA

  • Skills

Skill levels are one of the most important determinants of socio-economic outcomes. Skills are not only an important route out of poverty for individuals, but a key driver of economic prosperity. Unfortunately Oldham has traditionally had a weak skills base which is a legacy of generations of manual employment. This has resulted in residents finding it difficult to enter new growth sectors over recent years.

While Oldham has continued to improve attainment rates across the borough, adult skill levels still remain a concern. There are a higher proportion of residents with no qualifications and fewer residents holding degree-level qualifications compared to GM and national averages.

Skills Chart JSNA

  • Income

Oldham has traditionally had low wage levels in terms of residents and workplace earning potential (as measured by median weekly wage levels).This is likely a reflection of the industry mix within Oldham and the relative skill levels of the local workforce.

Resident wages in Oldham are higher than workplace earnings (£469 per week compared to £443 per week), showing that the more skilled residents of Oldham are finding higher-value employment outside the borough. It is likely that these residents live in the eastern half of the district where skill levels are much higher. Workplace-based wages are improving but at a slower rate and remain considerably lower than resident wages, indicating the prevalence of a greater low wage/low skill industry mix in the borough. Average incomes are displayed in the table below, alongside the other 9 Greater Manchester local authorities for comparison.

Average Incomes across Greater Manchester GM Income Chart JSNA

  • Further Resources

1. More information can be found on the PHE Wider Determinants of Health Profile.

2. Data from this page was taken from the document Oldham in Profile 2019, which contains further information about employment, income and skills.

3. Oldham’s most recent Monthly Labour Market report can be found here. For more information please contact business.intelligence@oldham.gov.uk.