A WORCESTER leader has backed an 89-page dossier lauding the success of the city – but insists more better-paid jobs must be created.
Councillor Adrian Gregson, leader of Worcester City Council, says independent experts’ conclusions were spot on about the Faithful City’s bright prospects for the future.
But he told your Worcester News he is concerned about the city losing bright talents to other parts of the UK, lured by better-paid jobs.
He believes one of the keys to Worcester’s future prosperity is attracting larger companies able to pay higher wages.
It follows a report by researchers Zeta Economics, which said Worcester has been a success story over the last few years, but now needs to become more ambitious.
Coun Gregson said: “There are issues about employment because we have got quite a lowly paid jobs sector.
“We end up in a cycle where we lose people to better-paid jobs elsewhere, and it goes around again. That’s a key thing we need to address as a city. We know what the problems are.
“We’ve also got to make the city more attractive to people when they get here and to that extent, we recognise there’s a lot more to do. If we can make Worcester thrive further it can help the whole county.”
Zeta Economics said the city has come out of the recession in remarkably good shape, with almost 6,000 new jobs created since 1998, a higher growth rate than most other areas.
It lauded the shopping and leisure offer as “buoyant”, saying Worcester should be proud of its independent retail outlets, landscape and quality of life.
But it did warn of unprecedented levels of competition, saying shoppers are now more keen to travel around for bargains.
Adrian Field, from the Worcester Business Improvement District (BID), a body representing retailers, said shops must seek to make more out of the world wide web.
“The number of people shopping online is increasing, with the ‘click and collect’ method becoming more popular,” he said.
“The High Street is doing well and the future will be about embracing online shopping as an opportunity, not a threat.”
Duncan Sharkey, the city council’s managing director, said: “The report shows that Worcester is a success story, full stop.
“It’s about how we attract more jobs that can give people more spending power and boost the economy.”