Life Sciences, IT industries help Cambridge city region realise growth during pandemic


Image by Konstantin Kolosov from Pixabay

While employment across the UK as a whole was in decline during the first full year of the pandemic, the Cambridge region bucked the trend, new research reveals.

According to the analysis by the Centre for Business Research at Cambridge University, innovation clusters – notably Life Sciences and Information Technology – in the Cambridge city region drove the lion’s share of growth in the local economy between April 2020 and March 2021. This reality highlights just how resilient Cambridge and the surrounding areas have been in the face of the global coronavirus outbreak.

Indeed, corporate employment in the Cambridge city region (a 20-mile radius from the city centre) rose by 1.8% through 2020/21. Despite the fact that growth in and around Cambridge was higher (4%) during the earliest stages of the pandemic (2019/20), these latest figures reveal how positive growth was sustained in the region throughout the worst year of the outbreak.

To further highlight Cambridge’s robustness, the average annual employment growth in the region over the last six years has been 5.3%.

Cambridge, like other economically sturdy UK cities, owes much of its resilience to its knowledge intensive (KI) industries. The city’s Life Sciences Cluster witnessed employment grow by 10.3% in 2020/21, while Information Technology and Telecommunications both saw employment rise by 6.9%. In contrast, there was almost no net employment growth across all non-KI industries (0.2%).

Speaking about the findings of the research, Matthew Bullock, Chair of Cambridge Ahead’s Regional Economic Planning Group said: “I am delighted that we now have a decade of this important data showing what is happening on the ground in our local economy, and that it is freely open to the local community. Long may this continue. We believe strongly at Cambridge Ahead in the public availability of high-quality data and research to inform decision making at all levels about our collective future.”

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