This section of the Community Area Joint Strategic Needs Assessment provides information about the economy of Wiltshire's local areas. There are many aspects that influence the economy, these can be the employment rates, workforce skills, and changes in industries, as well as other wider factors, like the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost of living crisis.
Below you can find data on rates of employment and unemployment, residents' qualifications and occupations, and information about local businesses, town centres and industries.
The CAJSNA information is primarily shown in interactive charts. These allow the user to hover over them and show extra detail within a tooltip, as well as the ability to remove indicators by deselecting them from the legend.
16 to 64 year old population
Just over sixty percent of Wiltshire's residents are aged between 16 and 64 years old. Tidworth Area Board has the highest proportion of people in this age bracket, at 66.2% of the area's total population, while South West Wiltshire Area Board has the lowest, at 54.6%. Full results are shown in the chart below:
Definition: The percentage of the population aged 16-64. Census data published at Output Area (OA) level and assigned to Area Board based on the location of the OA's population-weighted centroid.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census. Table RM121: Sex by age. March 2021.
Economic activity - employment and unemployment
This is a measure of whether or not a person was an active participant in the labour market during the week prior to the 2021 Census. People aged 16 years and over are described in the chart as economically active if, between 15 March and 21 March 2021, they were:
in employment (an employee or self-employed);
unemployed, but looking for work and could start within two weeks;
unemployed, but waiting to start a job that had been offered and accepted.
Those described as economically inactive are people aged 16 years and over who did not have a job between 15 March to 21 March 2021 and had not looked for work between 22 February to 21 March 2021 or could not start work within two weeks.
Definition: Percentage of people aged 16 years and over by their economic activity status. Census data published at Output Area (OA) level and assigned to Area Board based on the location of the OA's population-weighted centroid.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census. Table TS066: Economic activity status. March 2021.
Just under 30% of Wiltshire's residents who are in employment work part-time, defined as 30 or fewer hours per week. This proportion is highest in South West Wiltshire Area Board (34.5%) and lowest in Tidworth Area Board (21.8%).
Definition: Percentage of people aged 16 years and over in employment in the week before the Census who work 30 or fewer hours per week in their main job. Census data published at Output Area (OA) level and assigned to Area Board based on the location of the OA's population-weighted centroid.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census. Table TS059: Hours worked. March 2021.
Apprenticeships are funded from contributions made by the government and employers, and offer people aged 16 and over, who are not in full-time education, the chance to gain a qualification while in paid employment. It can take between one and six years to complete an apprenticeship depending on the industry and qualification. The number of apprenticeship starts in Wiltshire has fallen in recent years, from 5,720 in 2017/18 to 4,510 in 2021/22.
Definition: The number of apprenticeships started at any point during the stated academic period, August-July. Learners starting more than one apprenticeship will appear more than once.
Data source and time period: Department for Education, Apprenticeship starts, Geography LAD and PCON - Starts, Participation, Achievements by Age, Sex, Level. Academic years 2017/18-2021/22.
Disability employment gap
The disability employment gap is the difference in the employment rate of disabled people and people who are not disabled. 67% of people aged 16+ without disabilities in Wiltshire were in employment at the time of the 2021 Census, compared with only 32% of people with disabilities - a 35 percentage point gap. Appropriate employment supports both local economies and people's physical and mental health. While not everyone with disabilities can work, the right care and support can allow many more people to thrive in the workplace.
Definition: The disability employment gap is calculated by deducting the percentage of disabled people aged 16 years and over who were in employment (an employee or self-employed) in the week before the 2021 Census from the percentage of non-disabled people of the same age who were in employment in the same period to obtain the percentage point difference between the two employment rates. 'Disability' is in the Equality Act definition, and includes people whose day-to-day activities are limited both a lot and a little. Census data published at Output Area (OA) level and assigned to Area Board based on the location of the OA's population-weighted centroid.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census. Table RM019: Economic activity status by hours worked by disability. March 2021.
At the time of the 2021 Census, there were 316 veterinarians living in Wiltshire, 736 web and multimedia design professionals, and 4,702 nursing and midwifery professionals. Such detailed information on the occupations of Wiltshire's residents is collected into larger groups or classifications that are available at the Area Board level - vets, web designers and nursing and midwifery professionals, for example, are all collected in category 2 - professional occupations. This is the most prevalent occupational class in Wiltshire, with 19% of employed people in this group - although there is considerable variation across the county, from 11% in Tidworth to 28% in Bradford on Avon Area Board. The graphic below the chart shows some examples of occupations within the other groups, and the ONS's How many people do my job? webpage allows for the further examination of Census occupation data.
Definition: Percentage of people aged 16 years and over who were in employment in the week before the 2021 Census were asked to provide their job title and a job description. From this, the information was coded using the Standard Occupational Classification (2020 version) in order to group employed people by occupation. Census data published at Output Area (OA) level and assigned to Area Board based on the location of the OA's population-weighted centroid.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census. Table TS063: Occupation. March 2021.
Examples of occupational groups
The types of qualification included in each level shown in the chart are:
- Level 1 and entry level qualifications: 1 to 4 GCSEs grade A* to C , Any GCSEs at other grades, O levels or CSEs (any grades), 1 AS level, NVQ level 1, Foundation GNVQ, Basic or Essential Skills;
- Level 2 qualifications: 5 or more GCSEs (A* to C or 9 to 4), O levels (passes), CSEs (grade 1), School Certification, 1 A level, 2 to 3 AS levels, VCEs, Intermediate or Higher Diploma, Welsh Baccalaureate Intermediate Diploma, NVQ level 2, Intermediate GNVQ, City and Guilds Craft, BTEC First or General Diploma, RSA Diploma;
- Level 3 qualifications: 2 or more A levels or VCEs, 4 or more AS levels, Higher School Certificate, Progression or Advanced Diploma, Welsh Baccalaureate Advance Diploma, NVQ level 3; Advanced GNVQ, City and Guilds Advanced Craft, ONC, OND, BTEC National, RSA Advanced Diploma;
- Level 4 qualifications or above: degree (BA, BSc), higher degree (MA, PhD, PGCE), NVQ level 4 to 5, HNC, HND, RSA Higher Diploma, BTEC Higher level, professional qualifications (for example, teaching, nursing, accountancy);
- Other qualifications: vocational, work-related or other qualifications, qualifications achieved outside England or Wales (equivalent not stated or unknown).
Definition: Percentage of people aged 16 years and over by their highest level of qualification. Census data published at Output Area (OA) level and assigned to Area Board based on the location of the OA's population-weighted centroid.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census. Table TS067: Highest level of qualification. March 2021.
Over a third of employed people in Wiltshire work in the O, P and Q industry categories, which include defence, education and the NHS. This rises to around half of all employed people in the Stonehenge (47%) and Tidworth (52%) areas. Malmesbury Area Board has the lowest proportion in Wiltshire of people working in these sectors, at 24% of employed people, but this is the biggest sector category in all the area boards. More than a fifth of employed people in the Malmesbury and Pewsey areas are employed in the financial, real estate, professional and administrative sectors (K, L, M and N) - this includes insurance, scientific and technical industries. Over a fifth of the employed people in Trowbridge, Warminster and Melksham Area Boards work in the G and I industries of wholesale and retail trade and hospitality.
Definition: Percentage of people aged 16 years and over who were in employment between 15th and 21st March 2021 by the Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) code that represents their industry or business. Census data published at Output Area (OA) level and assigned to Area Board based on the location of the OA's population-weighted centroid.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, 2021 Census. Table RM065: Industry by sex. March 2021.
Businesses - numbers of employees
90% of the business enterprises in Wiltshire are micro-businesses employing fewer than 10 people. Micro-businesses form a strong part of the economy, and are represented in a diverse range of industries. As the Local Government Association (LGA) notes, the COVID-19 pandemic was particularly hard for micro-businesses, and Wiltshire Council provides a business support directory that provides signposting to support for small to medium sized enterprises, large businesses, and self-employed or sole traders.
Definition: The number of enterprises by the number of their employees. An enterprise can be thought of as the overall business, made up of all the individual sites or workplaces.
Data source and time period: Office for National Statistics, UK Business Counts - enterprises by industry and employment size band. March 2023.
Empty business premises
Empty business premises are exempt from business rates for a period of 3 months (retail premises and offices) or 6 months (industrial premises), after which most businesses must pay full business rates. The economic vibrancy of an area is reflected in both the number and duration of empty businesses. In August 2023, South West Wiltshire, Warminster and Trowbridge Area Boards saw the longest average time for which each empty business unit remained empty. Tidworth and Pewsey Area Boards had both low numbers of empty business premises, and comparatively short average durations spent empty. For more information on business support please see Wiltshire Council's Business Support Directory and The Enterprise Network website.
Definition: Number of unoccupied properties liable for business rates, and average months per unit spent empty.
Data source and time period: Revenues & Benefits, Wiltshire Council. August 2023.
Travel time to town centres
Wiltshire's rural character means that the town centres can face a lack of accessibility - as shown in the chart, only the urban area of Salisbury Area Board has 100% of its households living with 30 minutes of their nearest town centre by public transport. Accessibility is better by car, with 99% of Wiltshire's households living within 30 minutes drive of a town centre; but this indicator only measures travel time, not vehicle ownership. For Area Board information on the latter, please see the Sustainable Transport section of this JSNA.
Definition: Percentage of households within 30 minutes travel time of nearest town centre, by public transport or on foot and by car. Published at lower super output area (LSOA) level and assigned to Area Board (AB) based on proportion of households in each LSOA/AB intersect.
Data source and time period: Department for Transport, Journey time statistics: JTS0508: Travel time, destination and origin indicators for town centres by mode of travel, Lower Super Output Area (LSOA), England. 2021.
Footfall in urban centres
Historically, Wiltshire's urban centres have been mostly retail provision and so have become vulnerable due to changing consumer habits, such as opportunities for online shopping and out of town retail. This vulnerability was intensified by the economic shock of Covid-19. Wiltshire Council has allocated £1m a year between 2021-2025 (£4m in total) to support activity on the high street through the Wiltshire Towns Programme, providing meaningful and transformational support to grow businesses, support employment and transform Wiltshire's high streets to meet the needs of local communities.
The chart below shows the footfall data for 22 locations in the county between January and November 2023, and for 16 locations over the same period in 2022. Where the data was available at the time of publication, all locations saw an increase in footfall between 2022 and 2023, with the increase varying in size from less than 1% (Salisbury, 0.5% increase) to greater than 8% (Westbury, Wilton and Bradford on Avon).
Definition: Number of visits to urban centre, modelled estimates.
Data source and time period: Place Informatics Ltd. Report provided by Economic Development and Planning, Wiltshire Council. Jan-Nov 2022 and Jan-Nov 2023.