The latest Sci-Tech Daresbury campus survey has revealed that in 2021 companies based at the leading Liverpool City Region innovation hotspot reported their highest ever level of employees and employee growth.
The annual assessment showed that 50 companies increased their headcount, with 15 firms recruiting over five new fulltime employees. There was a 35% increase in the number of new jobs created versus 2020 and an overall 25% growth in the number of employees working in companies at Sci-Tech Daresbury. The trend shows no signs of slowing down, with strong recruitment also forecast for 2022 and beyond.
These figures are underpinned by the successful delivery of Sci-Tech Daresbury’s skills strategy RADAR, which supports companies through the three core pillars of Attract (inspire, attract, and employ the best talent), Develop (develop key skills to enable growth) and Retain (retain talent and skills). This has involved the development of strategic partnerships with a range of organisations including local Universities, in particular the University of Liverpool, the Armed Forces, and the recruitment company and campus Gold partner, Michael Page.
It has also involved significant activity engaging with local schools and colleges to promote science and technology careers through the public engagement team at campus partner Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) and helping guide companies about how to invest in the training and development of existing staff.
Thanks to RADAR, there has been a significant decline in the number of companies reporting skills shortage issues, with 28% of firms describing difficulties compared to 33% in 2020. This is very significantly below the average figure for UK organisations of 56% reported by the Open University in its Business Barometer 2020 report. While companies working in biomedical, healthcare, and digital fared better in this area, there did remain some challenges for advanced engineering and materials companies.
The staff turnover rate on campus mirrors that of the UK average of between 10-15%, a figure no doubt supported by the fact that 62% of campus companies either have or are in the process of establishing a training programme, up from 53% in the previous year.
Additionally, the survey demonstrated that the campus has experienced consistent underlying sales growth for several years of approximately 25% per year, reflecting the critical mass of high-growth companies based at Sci-Tech Daresbury.
The survey offers a snapshot of campus life during a particularly exciting time which saw the new Violet development welcoming a raft of companies. Three businesses – ORCHA, Peak Technology Solutions and MCS – scaled up to Violet from within the campus, reflecting the strength of Sci-Tech Daresbury’s Home for Life ethos.
This set of principles allows businesses to achieve their ambitions within the campus, with firms offered the technical support, world-class facilities and access to local and national networks needed in order to become trailblazers in their chosen field. The three homegrown companies joined Australian firm Blackmagic Design and China’s Geek+, whose arrival at Violet was announced in April.
The survey also revealed that the continued popularity of the Liverpool City Region campus is driven by factors including its accessible location, the high standard of its facilities, the opportunity to collaborate with both STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory and fellow campus companies, and the significant other networking opportunities and the access to expert support and guidance from the campus team.
John Downes, chief executive officer of Langtree and director of Sci-Tech Daresbury said: “This year’s campus survey demonstrates that our companies are undertaking some truly inspirational work in developing the next generation of talent in science and technology. The creation of high value jobs and the development of opportunities for graduates within the Liverpool City Region is crucial as we seek to ensure the North West continues to increase its attractiveness as a proposition for businesses and employees alike.
“Our campus survey also demonstrates that there’s no denying Sci-Tech Daresbury is a breeding ground for hi-tech, high growth companies – exactly the sort of enterprises that are so crucial to the economic wellbeing of UK plc. It really is a privilege to work with these firms on a daily basis and while there are undoubtedly challenging times ahead, I’ve no doubt the companies at our campus – with the support of our brilliant Sci-Tech Daresbury team – will continue to break new ground in developing the products and solutions that will help improve the world around us.”
Paul Vernon, Head of STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, said: “Sci-Tech Daresbury is an exceptional place where science and technology support businesses to create high value jobs and sustainable economic growth. The campus survey clearly confirms this, and the important role it plays in strengthening our local communities and economy.
“STFC’s Daresbury Laboratory, the National Laboratory in the North, is firmly committed to driving innovation and collaboration here in the North West and nationally, linking businesses to our incredible research facilities and expertise, and enabling them to increase their productivity and decrease risk. This is backed up by the valuable opportunities that arise through being part of our rapidly expanding industrial clusters.
“As we continue to support the creation of jobs and opportunities for our region, our thriving apprenticeship and placement schemes are also working hard to secure our next generations of talent and skills to help fill these roles for decades to come.”