The North East of England takes in cities of Sunderland, Durham and Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and smaller areas such as Middlesbrough and Gateshead.
Employment in the area suffered a blow in the Eighties, when its main industries of coal, steel and shipbuilding were destroyed by changing government policies and emerging markets, and tens of thousands of workers found themselves out of a job.
Today, even though the region has the lowest employment rates in the country, a trend is emerging for the better with numbers of people in work steadily growing and adverts increasingly littering recruitment agencies looking for staff.
While there is a low number of professionals in the North East compared with the national average, there are efforts taking place to bring in employees with higher qualifications and skills. The Digital City scheme in Middlesbrough will see the influx of firms from creative and digital fields, while the Newcastle Science City aims to boost the regions science and technology industries, and it has an emerging reputation for pharmaceuticals, molecular engineering, microelectronics and stem cell research.
Manufacturing, services and national and global company operations make up a large part of the North Easts workforce. Almost 600 overseas firms employ thousands of staff, Nissan being the largest in Sunderland.
Average wages in the area range from £522 a week for those with level 4 qualifications, to £270 a week for level 2.