Positive outlook backed by improved skills base

Yorkshire and Humber represents one of the largest geographical areas in the country, comprising North Yorkshire, the East Riding of Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and South Yorkshire.

It has a population of more than five million people and according to the local chambers of commerce there are more than 153,000 companies operating within its boundaries, 700 of them from overseas.

Covering 15,000sq km, the area has a dramatically diverse landscape and diversity is the key word when it comes to levels of employment, economic structure and culture.

The main industries include distribution, hospitality, financial services, manufacturing and construction.

The latest official employment figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that the overall employment and unemployment rates have remained stable over the past 12 months. Figures for February 2005 show the employment rate rose by 0.4% to 74.5%, with around 2.36 million people in work.

Meanwhile, unemployment dropped by 0.4% to 4.7% (116,000 people) with rates for men and women at 5% and 4.3% respectively. These figures are largely in line with the UK average rates of both employment (74.9%) and unemployment (4.7%).

The number of employers in the region expecting to hire new staff has fallen by 7% compared to the last quarter, although the majority still anticipate some kind of recruitment activity.

The Manpower Economic Outlook Survey reports that organisations in the area have positive recruitment intentions with a net economic outlook (NEO) of +11, compared to the UK average of +14. The NEO is calculated by subtracting the number of employers that anticipate a drop in worker numbers from those that expect to recruit more staff.

Although employers are expecting to hire more staff than at the same time last year, the figures still represent a dip on the previous quarter and are the fifth worse of the country’s 13 economic regions.

The Recruitment Confidence Index (RCI), compiled by Cranfield School of Management and the Daily Telegraph in association with Personnel Today, shows that only 21% of organisations in the region felt optimistic about current business conditions.

However, 54% expected general business conditions to improve in the next six months, with 49% anticipating growth in employment levels.
The RCI shows that more than half (53%) of employers expect to recruit new staff and 31% expect to keep the same amount of employees, while 15% fear they may need to cut back on staffing levels.

ONS figures show the average GVA (gross value added) per head – the measure of overall economic productivity – is £14,200. This is lower than the national average of £16,000, and the area has a total contribution to the economy of £71.2bn.

Commenting on the recent Progress in the Region 2004 report, Yorkshire and Humber regional assembly chairman Peter Box says: “The report not only highlights where progress has been made – notably in areas such as educational achievement, skills training and the environment – but also, crucially, where more investment is needed.”

Living in the region


Although recent government figures show that Yorkshire and Humber is bottom of the regional rankings when it comes to GCSE and NVQ results, the rate of improvement is above the national average. There are 10 universities and 3 higher education establishments in the region.


The Yorkshire Futures Progress in the Region 2004 report claims under-investment in the rail, road and public transport networks is holding back economic growth in the area. It says the current transport infrastructure is poor and reports a 2.8% rise in road traffic during 2003 – above the national average and the highest in northern England.


Leeds in often called the ‘new London’ and offers a vibrant cultural scene with excellent shopping and nightlife. The region also has an amazing coastline with several national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty. There are many points of historical interest as well as some of the country’s best moorland. There are ample sports facilities and many professional and amateur sports teams.


Official figures from the land registry show that the overall average price for a home in the region is £133,964. The average detached house will cost £229,381 while a semi-detached will be £127,360. The average price of a flat in the region is £133,224 and the average price of a terraced property is £93,897.

HR contacts and local information

CIPD North Yorkshire branch: http://branchwebs.cipd.co.uk/nyork/

CIPD Humber branch: http://branchwebs.cipd.co.uk/humber/

CIPD South Yorkshire branch: http://branchwebs.cipd.co.uk/syork/

CIPD West Yorkshire branch: http://branchwebs.cipd.co.uk/syork/

Regional development agency: www.yorkshire-forward.com

Regional assembly: www.yhassembly.gov.uk

Local tourist board: www.yorkshirevisitor.com

Association of local authorities: www.yhala.gov.uk

Company profile: Asda

Staff: 135,000

Based: Head office in Leeds

Philip Horn, head of resourcing at Asda headquarters in Leeds, has lived in Yorkshire since he moved to the area from Buckinghamshire when he was 13. He says the area’s friendly and helpful people, good schools, top shopping and beautiful countryside have all helped persuade him to stay.

“Generally, the cost of living is much less than in the South East, there is much more space up here and we don’t have a congestion charge,” he says.

Horn says the area is an ideal starting point for any aspiring HR professionals with plenty of large companies, especially in the banking, retail, legal and financial sectors.

“There are many good universities and large local councils for those working in the public sector. Leeds and Huddersfield are centres of excellence for CIPD study.

“However, many things in the UK are still centred on London,” he says. “You only have to listen to the news or the weather to realise that. A lot of the big companies are still based in the South East and, if they relocate, it tends to be down the M4 corridor. This can limit your ability to grow your career if things slow down in your own company,” he says.

Move here for…

The HR network

The various CIPD branches in the area have thousands of members and numerous networks.


The area has three National Parks and its famous countryside has featured in countless TV shows.

The big conference

Get the best seats at the annual CIPD conference in Harrogate.

But beware of…


Being based in the North can often mean long trips around the country.


A recent report claims under-investment in transport is holding the economy back.


According to the British Crime Survey, the region has the second highest crime rate in the country.

Comments are closed.