Skip to content

Employment by Industry


The data here pertains to the contribution to total employment of the various industry sections within the economy. It is measured in Full Time Equivalent (FTE) jobs, based on a 37 hour working week.

The bar charts above show the proportional contribution to employment of each industry for different geographical areas. Slide 1 shows data for Somerset, the Heart of the South West and Great Britain. Click to slide 2 to see data for lower-tier local authority areas within Somerset. Use the industry filter to select a particular industry. Right click on either chart to select and view the underlying data in table format.

About the data

Service industries accounted for almost 70% of all employment in 2016. This is notably lower than the national average of just over 80%, largely attributable to the relative significance of manufacturing in Somerset, which in 2016 accounted for 14.4% of all employment (32,343 FTEs) compared to the national average of 8.9%.

Please Note: Proportions of employment reported here are based on full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs and therefore do not represent the number of jobs in each industry, which may be higher in some industries which have a higher propensity for part-time work.

The only industry that accounts for more employment in Somerset than manufacturing is Wholesale and Retail Trade, which contributed 15.5% (34,976 FTEs) to all employment in 2016. Wholesale and Retail Trade was also the biggest industry nationally, though accounting for comparatively less employment at 13.7%. The third and fourth biggest industries for employment in Somerset in 2016 were Human Health and Social Work Activities (12.4%, or 27,879 FTEs), and Construction (9.3%, or 21.018 FTEs), both of which accounted for a higher proportion of employment than the national average. These four industries alone accounted for 116,215 FTE jobs, more than half of all employment in Somerset in 2016.

Unsurprisingly, given the rural character of Somerset, Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing Activities contribute almost three times as much employment in Somerset (4.5%) than is the case nationally (1.7%). Industries which account for comparatively less employment in Somerset than is the case nationally include Professional, Scientific and Technical Activities (6.3% versus 9.8%), Information and Communication (2.0% versus 4.7%), and Financial and Insurance Activities (1.4% versus 3.7%).

The following are key points pertaining to industry employment at the lower-tier local authority area in Somerset in 2016.

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing accounted for 9.2% of FTEs in West Somerset, our most sparsely populated district, whilst the other districts all accounted for close to 4.0%.
  • Manufacturing was the biggest employer for South Somerset (20.7%) and Sedgemoor (18%) and the second biggest employer in Mendip (12.3%). In Taunton Deane (7.6%) and West Somerset (4.6%) its contribution was much smaller.
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade was important for all districts and was the single biggest employer in Mendip (17.4%).
  • Transportation and Storage accounted for more employment (8.2%) in Sedgemoor than any other district.
  • Accommodation and Food Services was by far the biggest employer in West Somerset (24.6%) and contributed far more than in all other districts.
  • Human Health and Social Work Activities was the biggest industry in Taunton Deane in terms of employment, accounting for 20.5% of all FTEs. This is largely due to the presence of Musgrove Park Hospital.
  • Public Administration and Defence contributed more to employment in Taunton Deane (6.2%) and South Somerset (5.8%) due them being key administrative centres and/or the location for key MOD assets.
  • Electricity, Steam, Gas and Air-Conditioning Supply made up 6.6% of employment in West Somerset compared to the county average of just 0.7%. This is due to the presence of the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point.

Source: Economic Model for Somerset and the Heart of the South West (HotSW) Local Enterprise Partnership, 2018