Census highlights South Tyneside's qualifications challenge
More than one in 20 workers and jobseekers in South Tyneside have no formal qualifications, new figures show.
The latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show 67,795 people were eligible to work in South Tyneside at the time of the last census in March 2021.
Of them, eight per cent – 5,445 people - had no formal qualifications whatsoever.
The data also shows that 9.6% had at least one GCSE or equivalent qualification, 16% had five or more GCSEs at A* to C to levels nine to four, 24% had two A-levels or equivalent, and 34.5% had a degree or higher education qualification.
Combining all these figures into a composite score means the South Tyneside workforce ranks sixth in the North East and 197th across England and Wales in terms of formal qualifications.
The figures also show big regional disparities.
Boston, in Lincolnshire, has the worst qualified workforce in England and Wales – with 19% of workers and jobseekers there having no qualifications.
In contrast, just 3.7% of the City of London’s work-eligible people have no qualifications - the highest in the country.
The census data also found the types of jobs people did also tracked closely with qualification differences.
The figures show 10,192 (16.3%) of workers in South Tyneside were in professional occupations.
Across England and Wales, 5.6 million people (22.2%) worked in a professional occupation.
The Resolution Foundation think tank – which campaigns to raise standards for low and middle-income families – said good qualifications are "an important driver of employability and pay growth" and called on policy makers to boost and broaden people's skill sets.
Hannah Slaughter, senior economist at the Resolution Foundation, said: "Qualifications and training are an important driver of employability and pay growth. "The stark qualifications divide uncovered by the census is likely to have worsened already since May 2021 – damaging pay and income gaps between various places across the country.”
She added: "Policy makers and firms need to do far more both boost and broaden people’s skills and qualifications.
"This is an investment that will raise incomes, boost growth and help to 'level up' the country."