Latest research shows that job creation within Cambridge’s innovation clusters fuels an increasingly buoyant and resilient ecosystem
Economic data shows uplifting effect on employment across both Knowledge Intensive (KI) and non-KI sectors in the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region
Cambridge, UK. 4th April 2023: The latest in-depth analysis on the Cambridge city region economy from Cambridge Ahead, produced by the Centre for Business Research (CBR) at the University of Cambridge, shines a spotlight on science and innovation-led job creation that is fuelling a buoyant and resilient corporate economy, and is increasingly having a positive effect on job creation across wider (non-KI) sectors in the wider Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region.
The new research shows that growth of the Cambridge city region’s economy has been resilient over the uncertainty of the pandemic and has bounced back strongly since the restrictions ended. Growth of employment in the most recent year (2020-21 to 2021-22) was 2.6% across all sectors, which is broadly consistent as an average (at 2.5%) over the last three years. This was helped by the national furlough scheme.
The analysis found that this growth is driven by sustained and increased activity within the innovation clusters in the Cambridge economy. The 'life sciences and healthcare’ cluster has grown employment by an exceptional 11.4% per year over the last six years, spearheaded in part by the move of AstraZeneca’s global HQ to Cambridge. The tech cluster - via the ‘IT and Telecomms’ sector - follows closely at 7.7% per year over the same period.
KI employment now makes up half of the Greater Cambridge corporate economy, the first time this data has reached this notable marker since reporting began in 2010-11. The steady growth of non-corporate research institutions in the city region has contributed to this, now accounting for employment of over 37,000 people in the latest data draw.
Importantly, it is also indicated that non-KI industries across the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough region are increasingly connected with what is happening in the Cambridge economy. For example, non-KI employment across Cambridgeshire and Peterborough has been growing at a rate of 1.4% per year over the last 12 years, compared to the national rate of 1.1%.
These strong rates of employment growth over recent years are markedly higher than the national average – showing that Greater Cambridge is a driving force of the wider regional and the national economy. ONS figures show that over the last 12 years employment in Greater Cambridge grew by 2% per year, with the national economy growing 1.1% over the same period. The equivalent picture for KI industries is even more apparent, with Greater Cambridge KI employment growth at 4.5% per year and 1.8% for the country.
Jane Paterson-Todd, CEO, Cambridge Ahead commented: “It is absolutely vital that this economic picture is translated into a positive and sustainable story on the ground. We must collectively plan with open eyes for what is actually happening in our city centres, towns and high streets, and business parks across the region.
"This means delivering sustainable and active transport infrastructure to reduce congestion, reduce carbon emissions, and improve air quality. It means reducing demand for, and increasing the supply of, water and power. It also means investing in education and skills provision that give more local people across the region support to access the opportunities being created on their doorstep.”
Rachel Stopard, CEO, Greater Cambridge Partnership, sponsors of these data, commented: “This latest data showcases the remarkable strength of the Greater Cambridge economy, which continues to thrive and draw more and more people into our growing region. It is important for the GCP to track economic performance so we can develop our schemes to meet the demands of growth both now and in the future, creating sustainable, reliable and joined-up transport networks to support businesses and help people get to work, to school or to their hospital appointments.”
Christopher Walkinshaw, Group Director of External Relations and Communications, Marshall of Cambridge, sponsors of these data, commented: “Striving for excellence is a feature of Cambridge’s long history, and at Marshall of Cambridge we are very pleased to support this gold-standard evidence base to be created and put in the public domain to inform decisions that shape the future of our city.”
Cambridge Ahead is calling for recognition of the fact that if critical infrastructure – like transport – is not delivered, it will seriously negatively impact the quality of life of existing and new communities alike. Congestion across transport modes, housing unaffordability, and usage of resources like water and energy would be driven up unsustainably, to the detriment of residents, by not delivering new infrastructure at the same time as more and more jobs are being created here.
The current dataset, showing all Cambridge-based companies, can be viewed via the Cambridge Cluster Insights page at www.cambridgeahead.co.uk. Cambridge Cluster Insights is an interactive resource, which allows businesses and individuals to examine individual company data as well as identify where growth is taking place around them.