Tyne and Wear is formally a metropolitan county in the north east of England. It is split into five boroughs consisting of Newcastle upon Tyne, Sunderland, Gateshead, and North and South Tyneside.
These historically industrial areas, renowned for coal production, ship building and heavy industry have suffered for over two decades from well publicised unemployment. Although this situation is significantly improved, Tyne and Wear still has unemployment figures which are well above the national average.
The most popular employment sectors in the region are construction, banking, manufacturing and health care. Engineering services are also prevalent, as are software development and public sector work. This type of work can often be obtained through recruitment agencies. Universities, city councils and NHS trusts employ staff from more than a quarter of the working population in the region.
There is significant regeneration activity currently taking place in the cities of Tyne and Wear, to increase their appeal to outside investment. The universities also play a part in this, as it is estimated in Sunderland, for example, for every 1000 students who choose Sunderland University, £6m per year is fed into the local economy.
The average gross salary in the region is around £28,500 p.a. although there is a marked difference between pay for men and women in comparable jobs.