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Regional employment in high technology sectors

A new study, commissioned by EUROSTAT, the European Commission's Statistical Office, examines the development of a common methodology for the measurement of high technology employment at regional level in Europe. The study was conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies ...
A new study, commissioned by EUROSTAT, the European Commission's Statistical Office, examines the development of a common methodology for the measurement of high technology employment at regional level in Europe. The study was conducted by the Institute for Employment Studies of the University of Sussex.

The creation of high technology employment is a major instrument in the European Union's policies to combat unemployment in Europe. Although policies are being developed and implemented with the aim of creating such high technology employment, there is a lack of consistent data from across the EU to measure the success of these policies. The study examines the feasibility of measuring high technology employment at regional level and discusses the development of a common methodology for measuring such employment.

The study firstly considers the definition of high technology employment, as well as the appropriate classification of employment sectors for its measurement. As its basis, the study team used data from the Labour Force Survey (LFS), which is carried out at six-monthly intervals across the EU. The LFS is a household-based sample survey which is particularly designed to generate reliable estimates of unemployment at regional level.

Following validation of the results generated by the LFS data, the study also determined that breakdowns of high technology employment by gender, full-time or part-time employment status, and occupational groupings are also possible. The study team examined other possible data sources and investigated the extent of clustering (the extent to which high technology industry attracts more high technology industry to that area).

According to the study (of 12 EU countries - excluding Austria, Finland and Sweden) the following regions had the highest levels of high technology employment in 1994:

- Baden-Württemberg, Germany: 14.4%;
- Saarland, Germany: 12.7%;
- Niedersachsen, Germany: 12.3%;
- Hessen, Germany: 12.2%;
- North-western Italy: 11.8%;
- Rheinland-Pfalz, Germany: 11.8%;
- Lombardia, Italy: 11.3%;
- West Midlands, United Kingdom: 10.6%;
- Bremen, Germany: 10.5%;
- Eastern France: 9.9%.

The study proves that the LFS can generate reliable data to measure patterns of growth and change in high technology employment at regional level. This is of value to policy-makers, since much European policy and funding are aimed at generating high technology employment at regional level.
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