Industry declines while Sheffield booms, academics find

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Pay in the manufacturing sector is continuing to decline – despite Government ambitions to boost industrial growth, according to experts at Sheffield University.

Instead, earnings in the London-based finance and insurance sector are soaring again, with the gap between the two areas increasing.

Dr Craig Berry of the Sheffield Political Economy Research Institute said manufacturing was in danger of becoming a ‘rump’ sector – both smaller and less productive.

And while pay in the housing and property sector – which has had jobs growth of 16 per cent in the past year – remained behind manufacturing, there was evidence it was catching up.

Dr Berry said highly skilled workers were more likely to be attracted away from the technology-intense manufacturing sector, and towards a relatively low-skill sector with poor job security where they could earn more money.

He said: “In 2011 George Osborne promised a ‘march of the makers’ as part of economic rebalancing. The coalition government’s ‘plan for growth’ promised a focus on developing advanced manufacturing.

“But the latest evidence on pay suggests the UK manufacturing sector is becoming less productive relative to other sectors, and is characterised by low-skilled work. At the same time, the City has returned to business as usual.”