East Midlands: employment overview

East MidlandsA huge manufacturing hub and home to the UK head offices of big names like Rolls Royce and Siemens. With Silverstone and Cranfield University – a world-leader in engineering innovation and research, the East Midlands is a national focus for the high performance engineering and the automotive industry.

Rings a bell but…
what’s actually there?

Key towns and citiesDerby, Nottingham, Leicester, Lincoln, Loughborough, Northampton, Skegness, Wootton, Melton Mowbray, Ashbourne


Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Rutland, Northamptonshire and most of Lincolnshire

Anything else I might know?

The Peak District national park

The East Midlands is…

  • a gastronomic dark-horse. Did you know that the region is home to many national favourites such as Red Leicester cheese, Melton Mowbray pork pies and Bakewell tarts?
  • a major player in the UK’s agricultural game, with the counties of Lincolnshire and Rutland growing nearly a third of the country’s vegetables and Lincolnshire is the country’s second biggest producer of potatoes.
  • home to two areas of outstanding natural beauty in the undeniably breathtaking Peak District National Park and the Lincolnshire Wolds. The Peak District was not only the country’s first ever national park but it is also the second most popular national park in the world after Mount Fuji!

Manufacturing, motorsport and automotive

High-performance engineering is recognised as a separate manufacturing sector, and the motorsport, automotive and aerospace industries generate many spin-off companies, concentrating on highly-specialised precision engineering. To support the local demand for these skills, Silverstone UTC, which opened in September 2013, is a brand new, multi-million centre of excellence for young people wanting to break into the specialist fields of high-performance engineering, and also technical events management.

If you would prefer a career in cars for the road rather than the track, the East Midlands is full of opportunities to work for some of the most well-known names in the automotive industry. Milton Keynes is a thriving business city, and is home to the UK headquarters of automotive giants Mercedes-Benz and Volkswagen AG.

If motorbikes are more your thing, Yamaha Kemble and Suzuki are based in Milton Keynes, and Triumph Motorcycles are in Hinkley. For push bike fans, the Raleigh Bicycle Company is in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire.

Did you know?

  • Kasabian, Jake Bugg and the 90s wonders Fun Lovin’ Criminals all hail from the East Midlands.
  • Nottinghamshire is home to Sherwood Forest where the legend of Robin Hood (a heroic outlaw according to English folklore) resides.
  • The highest point in the region is Kinder Scout in the Peak District, at 2,078 ft above sea level!

Writing, culture and the arts

The area has had a £40m investment in the arts over recent years and this has opened up plenty of new opportunities for young people to pursue careers in arts and culture.

Nottingham has a bounty of long-established galleries, however, the recent openings of the Nottingham Contemporary and the New Art Exchange, Derby’s QUAD arts centre, a new £7.8m extension for the Collection in Lincoln and the Vanilla Galleries in Leicester have ensured that the region is recognised as an area with ample opportunities for keen artists and art lovers.

To further encourage the growth of artists within the area, Nottingham Trent University offers a no-strings-attached grant which helps emerging artists to come together and start their own gallery or studio.

If your creative career choice is writing, the region’s Arts Council funded project ‘Writing East Midlands’ offers creative writing events and projects for emerging and established writers. They work with other local organisations including schools, universities, arts venues, museums, libraries, producers and local authorities to encourage relationships between writers and their communities. A range of workshops and other forms of support are offered, including writing courses, mentoring schemes, critical appraisals, and one-to-one career development sessions.

Food and clothing

The retail industry is big business in the East Midlands: 10.2% of retail businesses in the UK are based in Leicestershire alone. One of these is Next, Britain’s biggest retailer, who have battled adversity head-on during the high street slump and managed to remain strong as ever. Their trainee programme offers a range of career choices, from buyers and merchandisers to technologists and designers.

Nottinghamshire is home to many favourite brands: the head offices of global fashion brand Paul Smith are based in Lenton, and lingerie brands Gossard, Pretty Polly, and Berlei are based in Daybrook. Dr Martens – footwear staple choice of the 90s which made a huge comeback – are also based in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire.

Pharmacy chain Boots has been based in Nottingham since 1849 and still has their head offices located there to this day.

The UK’s (and Gary Lineker’s) favourite crisp brand, Walkers, produce 10 million bags of crisps a day at their Leicester factory and employ more than 2000 people. Fellow snack producer and competitor KP Snacks (owned by United Biscuits), are based just round the corner in Ashby-de-la-Zouch. However, if you’ve a sweeter tooth, Nestle, manufacturers of Kit-Kat, Smarties and plenty more, have their national distribution centre just south of Coalville.

The East Midlands in numbers

  • The East Midlands covers 15,600 sq km which is roughly 6 per cent of the total area of the UK.
  • The rate of employment in the East Midlands stood at 72.1 per cent in the first half of 2012 which was higher than the UK rate of 70.5 per cent.
  • The Peak District attracts around 8.4 million visitors a year.

Banking and finance

The East Midlands has many opportunities for budding accountants, financial advisers, tax analysts and many more roles within the highly desirable financial sector. Barclaycard has its headquarters in Northampton, whilst Capital One (last year named the UK’s Best Large Employer at the Best Workplace Awards occupies an old Boots warehouse in Nottingham where there are some very unusual work spaces including a snow room and beach huts!

Santander can be found in Narborough, Leicestershire and the credit reference company Experian has a large UK head quarters based in Nottingham.

All of the huge companies run graduate schemes with high levels of post-completion employment and the opportunity to start careers with big futures!