The number of jobs in highly skilled and highly paid sectors such as computing, science, law, finance and broadcasting fell by more than 2,000 over the past five years in the West Midlands region.
The region is failing to capitalise on the massive growth in jobs in the “knowledge economy” which will become increasingly important in decades to come, official figures have revealed.
But nationally, the number of jobs in these sectors rose by 267,931.
Most of the new roles were created in London and the South East, where the number of knowledge economy jobs rose by 225,000.
However, the number of posts in the North West rose by more than 35,700 – possibly due partly to Greater Manchester’s success in attracting broadcasting and technology investment to its Media City development in Salford.
The figures compare the number of posts in 2013 to figures from five years previously and were compiled by House of Commons researchers at the request of Birmingham MP Liam Byrne, a Shadow Business Minister.
The phrase “knowledge economy” is used by some economists to describe roles which are expected to be in demand in the future, as the world moves away from the agricultural-intensive and labour-intensive economies of the past.
It includes jobs in the manufacturing of pharmaceuticals, computers and electronic products, but not low-skilled manufacturing.
It also includes the creation of software and applications, legal services, advertising and marketing, financial services and head office functions.
Mr Byrne is chair of the All Party Group on Inclusive Growth, a Parliamentary group set up to consider ways the success of the private sector can contribute to “social justice”, for example by reducing poverty.
Other members include Michael Heseltine, the Conservative peer and former Deputy Prime Minister, and the Bishop of Birmingham, the Right Rev Lord David Urquhart, a member of the House of Lords.
Mr Byrne said: “London has strong institutions and powers and this has obviously helped create a boom in the number of high skilled, high paid jobs in industries of the future. But, if we want wealth to be better shared up and down our country, then we need to give regions and cities the power to do just what London has done.
“Any job is better than no job. But a good job is better than a bad job. And right now lots of our country need more good jobs.
“That tells us devolution must go further and faster. And we want a consensus on how to get that right.”
The Bishop of Birmingham said: “Our ambition should be to build an economy that works for the whole country and places more people into secure, affordable jobs.
“To do that we need a system that encourages employers and entrepreneurs up and down the UK to grow prosperous businesses that offer such jobs.”
The all-party group is holding a conference bringing together Lord Heseltine and Lord Adonis, a Labour peer, to discuss the growing consensus backing devolution.
The event is to consider ways of attracting investment in strategic sectors, science and innovation in every region of the country, as
well as ways of encouraging collaboration between small and medium-sized businesses and universities.
There are 267,151 “knowledge economy” jobs in the West Midlands. The figure in the North West is 421,467 and in London the figure is 1.3 million.