Employment Outcomes and Plant Closure in a Post-industrial City: An Analysis of the Labour Market Status of MG Rover Workers Three Years On
David Bailey, Caroline Chapain, Alex de Ruyter, 2012
Name of publisher/editorUrban Studies
Summary & key words
This paper examines how the loss of 6300 jobs from the closure of MG Rover (MGR) in the city of Birmingham (UK) in April 2005 affected the employment trajectories of ex-workers, in the context of wider structural change and efforts at urban renewal. The paper presents an analysis of a longitudinal survey of 300 ex-MGR workers, and examines to what extent the state of local labour markets and workers’ geographical mobility—as well as the effectiveness of the immediate policy response and longer-term local economic strategies—may have helped to balance the impacts of personal attributes associated with workers’ employability and their reabsorption into the labour markets. It is found that the relative buoyancy of the local economy, the success of longer-run efforts at diversification and a strong policy response and retraining initiative helped many disadvantaged workers to find new jobs in the medium term. However, the paper also highlights the unequal employment outcomes and trajectories that many lesser-skilled workers faced. It explores the policy issues arising from such closures and their aftermath, such as the need to co-ordinate responses, to retain institutional capacity, to offer high-quality training and education resources to workers and, where possible, to slow down such closure processes to enable skills to be retained and reused within the local economy.