Table of contents

Economy and Infrastructure

Summary :: Our people and place :: Economy and Infrastructure


Overall, the number of businesses in Medway has grown since 2011, although there has been a slight decrease of 0.2% in Enterprises in 2018 (8,410) compared to 2017 (8,425). Over a five year period, since 2013, Enterprises have grown by 29.8%. This increase exceeds that of the South East (19.0%) and Great Britain (23.6%) and the majority of businesses in Medway are Micro (0-9 employees).

Construction businesses continue to dominate the volumes of Medway's industry, but the biggest percentage change in the five year period has come from the increase in 'Transportation and Storage' businesses. This industry has increased by 74.1% over this period going from 290 businesses in 2013 to 505 businesses in 2018.

Medway has a higher business birth rate for 2017 (13.4%) than the South East (11.6%) and United Kingdom (13.1%). The volume of business births is higher than the volume of business deaths. The five year survival rate for businesses born in Medway in 2012 and still active in 2017 is 43.6%. This is slightly higher than the UK rate of 43.0%.

In 2017, the highest proportion of GVA (Gross Value Added) was generated by the 'Real Estate Activities' sector at 15.3% (£816m). This is followed by 'Construction' at 10.9% (£579m), then Wholesale and retail trade; repair of motor vehicles' at 10.6% (£564m).[1]


Medway has a lower job density than the rest of the South East, Great Britain and the Kent NUTS 3 regions, meaning that there are fewer jobs per person available. With Medway's population set to increase by 15% by 2035, more job opportunities will need to be provided to prevent unemployment levels from rising.

The average weekly earnings of those working in Medway are lower than the average weekly earnings for South East and Great Britain. This means that Medway residents may look to work outside of Medway in order to seek better wages and could discourage people living outside of Medway coming to the local authority to work.

The percentage of people that are economically active in Medway (82.0%) has risen above that of the South East (81.3%) and Great Britain (78.4%). Model based estimates identify that the number of people economically active but unemployed in Medway has reduced over the past five years. Medway's out of work claimant level does however remain higher than that of the South East, but is lower than Great Britain.

In 2017/18, 17.9% of Medway's residents aged 16-64 were economically inactive, less than the South East (18.7%) and Great Britain (21.6%). 2017/18 figures have seen a 1.9 percentage point decrease compared to 2016/17.[1]


Medway's location means that it is very accessible by rail, road and through the ports. There is ready access to the M2, M20 and M25, the Channel Tunnel, Channel Tunnel Rail and, although not a commercial airport, Rochester has a landing strip for private use. For more information, please see the parking and transport section of Medway Council's website.


There are 79 primary-only schools in total in Medway. Fifty are academies and 29 are maintained schools.

There is 1 all-through school in Medway (age 4-19), which was created when The Hundred of Hoo Academy opened a primary phase.

There are 9 special schools and 1 pupil referral units.

There are 18 secondary-only schools in Medway; all except 2 are academies. One of these, Medway University Technical College, is a new build school for 14-19 year olds specialising in Engineering, Construction and Design.

In addition, there are 2 colleges offering a range of more vocational subjects alongside traditional subjects.[3]

(Please note: figures correct as at August 2019).

Universities at Medway is a unique partnership comprising the University of Greenwich, the University of Kent, Canterbury Christ Church University, and Mid-Kent College at a shared campus at Chatham Maritime. The £120 million scheme is the first of its kind in the country and aims to open up higher education to as many people as possible.

Each of the four institutions offers its own range of courses, both full and part-time, drawing on its own individual academic strengths, and has its own buildings. By being on a shared campus, students have access to a wide range of first-class facilities. Universities at Medway is supported by the Higher Education Funding Council for England; The South East England Development Agency (SEEDA); Medway Council; and Communities and Local Government: Thames Gateway Funding (see link below).

Rochester is host to one of the four campuses which belong to the University of Creative Arts, specialising in courses relating to photography, sculpture and textiles.

Other important links:

Thames Gateway Kent Partnership


[1]   Medway Council. (2019). Medway's Economy Report. [Unpublished]
[2]   NOMIS official labour market statistics. Jobseeker's Allowance with rates and proportions.
[3]   Department for Education. (2019). Get information about schools []