Get ready for the new world of employment in Glasgow

It would not be keen on the idea, but Glasgow might be in the lead to become Britain's first major post-industrial city. Employment in Glasgow has been moving away from industry and manufacturing for decades and now its growth areas are in IT, finance, digital media and the service industries.

The public sector remains the most significant source of jobs in Glasgow. As the governor of the Bank of England pointed out, a century ago the 3 largest employers in Glasgow were the North British Locomotive Company, and the Clydeside shipbuilders Fairfields and John Brown and Company. Today the largest employers are Glasgow City Council (glasgow.gov.uk) the National Health Service (nhsggc.org.uk), and Strathclyde Police (strathclyde.police.uk).

Those Glaswegians not employed in collecting their fellow citizens' council tax, patching them up or arresting them, are employed in a multitude of activities.

Despite all the stereotypes, some parts of Glasgow's economy are booming. The local love of fashion and shopping has kept the retail sector well ahead of the economic downturn, while the city's reputation for its pubs and clubs has been augmented by a thriving restaurant scene, among the busiest in the UK.

Glasgow's financial sector took a knockback along with Edinburgh's after the banking crisis, but its tourism industry has increased substantially. Visitors, who traditionally passed by on their way to the Highlands, are now staying to admire the architecture and cultural facilities, with a corresponding boost to employment in the sector.

Another boom area in employment in Glasgow has been the growth of call centres, with more than 20,000 people now employed in this area, although many of the jobs are still at minimum wage, and involve long hours.

A more persuasive growth area is in future-friendly small industries like optoelectronics, software development and biotechnology, with Glasgow as an urban adjunct to the Silicon Glen high tech cluster of industry across central Scotland. For details check siliconglen.com.


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