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Economy and Infrastructure

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

The Medway Council Facts and Figures webpage contains information on employment, unemployment, business, and gross value added.

In 2009, the Economic Development Strategy for 2009-12 was adopted in Medway, in which five priority areas were identified:

• Sector development — includes providing facilities for creative industries and establishing centres for environmental technologies
• Skills development — aiding training and fulfilling skill gaps in the work force
• Higher education — encouraging employers to recruit apprentices and graduates and raising the aspirations of young people. Medway Council is a partner in the 100 apprentices recruited in 100 days challenge
• Employment space — auditing suitable land sites for future development
• Image building — host a range of cultural events to improve the overall image of Medway as a place to visit and stay


Average earnings in Medway increased significantly in 2016 which continues the upward trend in earnings locally over the last five years.[1] The median gross annual pay of a full-time employee in Medway in 2016 was £29,503. This is above the national level (England £28,503), but below the median income in the South East (£30,752). Full-time male workers earn an average of £32,254 in Medway, compared to £22,219 for females.[2]

The English Indices of Deprivation (IMD) 2015 presents data on income deprivation, which measures the proportion of the population experiencing deprivation linked to low income. This includes both those people that are out-of-work, and those that are in work but who have low earnings.[3] Medway is ranked 102 out of 326 local authorities in England for income, where a ranking of 1 is the most income deprived.[4]

The income deprivation data is also broken-down into Lower-layer Super Output Areas (LSOAs), which can commonly be regarded as 'neighbourhoods'. Medway has 29 neighbourhoods ranked in the 20% most deprived areas nationally and, within those, 10 neighbourhoods are ranked in the 10% most deprived areas. This is up on the 2010 index position, with 5 extra neighbourhoods in the 20% most deprived areas and 4 extra neighbourhoods in the 10% most deprived areas. Of the 10 most income deprived neighbourhoods in Medway, 3 are in Gillingham North and 3 are in Luton and Wayfield.[3]


In 2016 the number of people listed as economically active (working age residents in employment or actively seeking employment) was 80.0%, which is above the England average (78.1%), but below that of the South East in general (81.0%).[5]

As at August 2017, the number of Jobseeker's Allowance (JSA) claimants in Medway was 2,336, accounting for 1.3% of the working-age resident population. Medway's claimant rate was the sixth highest out of the 67 local authorities in the South East. Since August 2016 there has been a decrease in the number of claims in Medway (-369) and there have been very similar reductions in Kent, the South East region and England.[6]

Medway Kent South East England
No. Rate No. Rate No. Rate No. Rate
Jan-08 3,464 2.0 13,464 1.5 68,096 1.3 690,667 2.0
Jan-09 5,501 3.2 22,452 2.5 119,762 2.2 1,065,839 3.1
Jan-10 7,659 4.4 29,673 3.3 162,568 3.0 1,369,811 4.0
Jan-11 6,508 3.7 26,593 2.9 135,253 2.5 1,224,055 3.6
Jan-12 7,416 4.2 30,297 3.3 146,956 2.7 1,355,582 4.0
Jan-13 6,913 3.9 28,914 3.1 137,436 2.5 1,292,542 3.8
Jan-14 5,404 3.1 22,645 2.4 101,709 1.8 1,001,862 2.9
Jan-15 3,932 2.2 15,553 1.7 68,099 1.2 669,223 1.9
Jan-16 3,204 1.8 12,614 1.3 53,540 1.0 516,520 1.5
Jan-17 2,487 1.4 10,961 1.2 43,899 0.8 405,001 1.2
Table 1: JSA claimant number and rate (proportion of resident population aged 16-64) in Medway over time compared to Kent County, the South East and England.

Table 1 shows that Medway has a consistently higher JSA claimant rate than Kent, the South East region and England. It should be noted that these counts do not yet include recipients of Universal credit.

Major employers

As at March 2017, there were 8,425 businesses in Medway. This is a 5.6% increase on the 2016 level, which is higher than growth seen regionally (South East +3.0%) and nationally (England +4.8%).[7]

Construction - Medway's largest sector - accounts for just over a fifth of businesses (20.9%); this is considerably higher than levels in the South East (13.1%) and England (12.0%). Other sectors which are proportionally larger in Medway than nationally are health (5.9%), transport & storage including postal (5.7%) and motor trades (3.4%).

The second largest sector in Medway - professional, scientific and technical - represents 15.3% of business and the third largest sector - business, administration and support services - represents 8.2%.

The sector with the largest growth in Medway - transport and storage (including postal) - increased by 18.5% since 2016.[7]


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 78 primary-only schools in total in Medway. Forty-six are academies and 32 are maintained schools. Of these, there are 15 infant schools, 11 junior schools and 52 full primary schools.

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

There are 5 special schools (1 maintained school and 4 academies) and 2 pupil referral units.

There are 17 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.[8]

(Please note: figures correct as at October 2017).

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. Average Earnings 2016 May, .
[2]   NOMIS official labour market statistics. Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings - Resident Analysis, 2016
[3]   Smith T, Noble M, Noble S, et al. English Indices of Deprivation 2015; Department for Communities and Local Government. .
[4]   Medway Council. Index of Deprivation 2015 February, .
[5]   NOMIS official labour market statistics. Economically active
[6]   NOMIS official labour market statistics. Jobseeker's Allowance with rates and proportions.
[7]   Office for National Statistics. UK business; activity, size and location : 2017
[8]   Department for Education. Get information about schools 2017;