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News and commentary

Read the latest news and commentary from our Evidence Hub team.

From 7 May 2024, The North East Evidence Hub is a project of the North East Combined Authority. We may still refer to the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (or "the LEP") in some of our news articles.

What types of jobs do North East workers do?

Eddie Smith, economic analyst at the North East Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP), looks at the extent of part-time working, self-employment, temporary working, and public sector employment in the North East.

According to the latest headline data, about 71% of working age people in the North East are in employment. Despite the impact of Covid, this rate has increased from about 66% over the past decade. In total, the North East is home to almost 900,000 workers, but how do their job types vary?

Most of the information on this topic is based on ONS survey responses by workers. The statistics are published on the Nomis website. To provide a more robust sample size these cover a 12-month period, with the latest being for October 2022 to September 2023.

In that period:

Almost a quarter of North East workers aged 16 to 64 were in part-time employment
This was slightly above the national rate. Both percentages have shown little fluctuation over the past two decades. North East female workers were three times more likely to be in part-time employment than males. The female rate was highest among South Tyneside workers. The male rate was highest in Newcastle.

North East part-time workers were particularly likely to be unsuccessfully searching for a full-time job
This was true for 12% of part-time workers in the North East statistical region (including Tees Valley). This was the highest proportion among the nine English regions.

North East workers were less likely to work 45 hours a week or more 
About 17% worked this number of hours, lower than the national equivalent. This percentage had decreased over the last decade. The low level of long hours working may be influenced by high level of public sector working. North East Male workers were almost twice as likely as females to work 45 hours plus a week.

More North East females had second jobs than males
More than three-fifths of North East workers with second jobs were female. Among male and female workers, just under 3% had second jobs, a slightly lower percentage than nationally. 

Working age self-employment was less common in the North East
About 10% of North East workers were self-employed, compared to 12% nationally. The percentage was highest among workers from County Durham and Newcastle. Male workers in the North East were one and a half times more likely to be self-employed than female workers in the latest data, but the gap has closed in recent years. 

The rate of North East self-employment has recently decreased
This is also true of the national rate and is partly due to a large number of self-employed workers reclassifying as employees in 2020, without changing their job. This was highlighted in an ONS blog and coincided with the start of the furlough scheme.

North East workers were more likely to be in temporary employment 
About 4.8% of workers in the North East statistical region were in temporary employment in the latest data, a higher percentage than nationally. There were more females in temporary employment than males, a reversal of the pattern a decade ago.

North East temporary workers were more likely to be unsuccessful seeking a permanent job
This was true for about 28% in the statistical region, who cited it as the key reason for temporary working. The North East percentage was the highest among the nine English regions, despite the number of workers in this situation decreasing over the last decade.

The public sector had a larger share of employment in the North East than nationally 
In the latest data, about 29% of North East workers were employed in the public sector, compared to 23% in England excluding London. The North East share had increased in each of the last seven years and had grown at a faster rate than nationally. North East female workers were more than twice as likely as male workers to be in the public sector.

Further information and charts on this topic can be found in the hub’s employment types report, while the hub has an employment and skills theme page with links to other labour market reports.