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Business comment: Employment trend is sign of the times
The make-up of the Oxfordshire economy is changing. The public sector still remains a huge employer but, for the first time in five years of the Oxfordshire Top 100 Employers’ survey, the county council has fallen from the top spot.
A combination of cuts and the transformation of schools into academies has seen its workforce drop by 6,000. Even Oxford University, now the county’s biggest employer has seen its ranks reduced.
More and more private firms are responsible for employing an increasing number of people.
The county has always been highly entrepreneurial and now the recovery is fully under way this trend is accelerating.
Significantly, this has been recognised by the Government.
Rather than thinking Oxfordshire is quite capable of looking after itself, there has been major investment in key areas, particularly in hi-tech science-related businesses which are mushrooming around established locations such Culham and Harwell.
Key to this has been the introduction of the Science Vale Enterprise Zone. This status has meant more firms have been able to establish themselves more quickly.
And who could ignore that bellweather of the county economy, the Cowley Mini plant?
With 4,000 employees now and a new model just launched on the back of a £750m investment by BMW, Oxford’s great tradition as a car maker is buoyant.
Investment is pouring in and jobs are being created, which can only be good news for everyone.
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