A report based on 2007-2008 figures states that universities within the UK are worth £59bn to the economy. This report highlighted the growing role of universities as not only places of higher learning, but also as major employers and revenue earners.
Universities were directly or indirectly responsible for the creation of over 668,500 jobs, which accounts for approximately 2.6 percent of the current workforce. These figures come after the launch of the governmental blueprint to increase the economic importance of universities.
Overall, the figure of a university sector worth £59bn represented and increase of twenty five percent when compared to four years ago. The revenue earned by the UK universities for such things as consultancy work, hosting conferences and intellectual property income was approximately £23.4bn, which came out comparable to the printing and publishing industry. By attracting foreign students, the sector generated an additional £2.3bn in 2007-08 in off-campus expenditure.
As far as spending and supporting the more local economies, the university sector purchased £19.5bn in goods and services provided by the localities. The study, which was produced for the UK Universities by researchers at Strathclyde University, concluded that higher education was a ‘substantial industry that had a substantial impact on the national economy’.
The University sector has become a core piece of the economic infrastructure of not only the regions, but also the country itself. It generates employment and product. It attracts export earnings and contributes to the gross domestic product. The strength of this sector and its ability to generate economic activity has become even more important due to the economic recession where other sectors are flagging.
As stated earlier, university employment accounted for more than 1.2 percent of the workforce in 2007, for every university job, one or more other jobs were created outside the university venue to support the university. The importance of universities as employers has been well recognized at the regional level for a long time, probably for the most part because they were frequently one of the largest employers within the region. Universities are also recognized for providing higher skill levels, which lead to higher paid employment, which attracted higher qualified people to the area, all of this works together in order to make the region more competitive nationally.
Universities have been recognized as being of significant economic importance on many different levels, including educational and as a large employer, this sector has also been proven to be a boost economically to not only the separate regions but also the country in general. The importance of this sector is only going to increase over the next decade. This sector is considered one of the country’s most valuable industries and it figures highly in securing the country’s long term prosperity.