How Essex combines a UK-leading health technology workforce with lower labour costs

Essex UK Health Technology Cluster

Located between Cambridge and London, but with a significantly lower cost base than either, the county of Essex presents an attractive location proposition to companies in the life sciences and health technology sectors.

But these are industry sectors in which access to highly skilled workers is key. So does locating in Essex require compromises when it comes to workforce capabilities?

A skilled labour force across 'health technology' specialisations

A review of UK government (ONS) data [1] for Essex districts reveals high workforce concentrations in three classifications that are key for the health technology sector:

Essex: Health Technology Workforce Specialisations

‘Manufacture of computer, electronic and optical products’ (SIC C26):

In this key high-technology classification, the Essex districts of Harlow and Maldon display workforce concentrations that are more than 4 x the Great Britain average, and higher than the core ‘Cambridge Cluster’ districts of Cambridge and South Cambridgeshire.

In terms of workforce numbers, Essex is a match for Cambridgeshire in this classification:

Interactive Chart: Employees

‘Research and experimental development on natural sciences and engineering’ (SIC 721)

Chesterford Research ParkData for this key R&D classification reveals the continuation of the Cambridge life sciences and high-tech cluster southwards into Essex. The Essex district of Uttlesford, which neighbours South Cambridgeshire and includes Chesterford Research Park, displays a workforce concentration in this category of 3.1 x the Great Britain average.

‘Manufacturing of medical and dental instruments and supplies’ (SIC C325)

The Essex districts of Harlow and Southend are home to nationally significant ‘medical instruments manufacturing’ workforce concentrations: 5.3 x the Great Britain average in Harlow and 4.5 x the Great Britain average in Southend.

A reminder of those labour cost savings…

So, Essex is up there with the very best UK locations when it comes to the availability of a skilled life sciences and health technology labour force. But in Essex, those skills come with average labour costs that are significantly lower than Cambridge and London, and even lower than the Great Britain average: [2]

Essex: Average Wage Costs

Interactive Chart: Labour Costs


Contact INVEST Essex to find out more about the Essex UK Health Technology Cluster.

[1] ONS Location Quotients, 2011
[2] ONS, Annual Survey of Hours & Earnings, Workplace Analysis, 2015

Dave Russell-Graham
Dave Russell-Graham

Inward Investment Manager (Life Sciences)

+44 (0) 7881 310776


With over 30 years’ experience in the life sciences and healthcare sector Dave has an extensive range of contacts in the industry as well as experience in pharmaceutical development through to facility refurbishment and fit out. Dave’s work has predominantly been with major pharmaceutical companies, and in 2011 he was a key player in the deal between Pfizer and Mylan for Pfizer’s respiratory technology platform. More recently he has worked as the Scientific Development Advisor for Harlow Science Park.