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Employment and rural Britain

March 2013

With economic opportunities gravitating towards urban centres, many rural areas have lost out

Employment and rural Britain

This summary is based on research by Dr Anne Green. Read an interview with Anne.

With economic opportunities gravitating towards urban centres, many rural areas have lost out. This can create real economic and social hurdles for people living in remote parts of the UK. Rural residents may be unable to secure increasingly scarce local jobs and can face long commutes in search of work in regional urban areas.

This article analyses UK employment trends (both actual and predicted) between 1990 and 2020. Where policy-makers previously attempted to bring jobs to people in rural areas – by artificially creating economic hubs or ‘growth poles’ – now they are tending towards encouraging people to move to jobs. This can be done through either commuting or migration. Interestingly, new developments in ICT and the Internet offer possibilities for ‘telecommuting’, although this is far from a ‘quick fix’.


Edexcel – AS unit 2 (Unequal spaces: Managing rural inequalities) Investigates the role of technology and policy in overcoming economic problems and barriers

OCR – AS unit F762 (Managing change rural change) Raises questions about decline and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas

This article may prove useful for developing synoptic links between employment, migration and technology. GCSE students studying employment and the world of work would also benefit from it.

In the Members' Area:

  • Britain in 2010: Did we see it coming?
  • The hourglass economy
  • Moving jobs to people, or people to jobs?
  • A sub-national policy approach
  • Escalator regions
  • Working with the Internet
  • Conclusion
  • Activities

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