New report launched – The Economic Impact of Higher Education in Wales

Study shows Welsh universities generate a knock-on impact of over £5bn for the Welsh economy, and support almost 50,000 jobs in Wales

An independent report, released today by Universities Wales, demonstrates that universities are continuing to have a significant and wide-ranging impact on the Welsh economy, communities, and individuals, creating tens of thousands of jobs and stimulating economic activity in local communities, as well as the wider Welsh economy.

Conducted by Viewforth Consulting, the study found that, in 2015/16, the activities of universities, their students and the friends and family of their international students generated over £5bn of Welsh outputGVA DISTRIBUTED

This significant economic contribution was generated through both on-campus and off-campus expenditure producing over £2.67bn of Welsh Gross Value Added (GVA), [1]and generating 49,216 jobs.

The study found that, despite operating in a challenging environment, with uncertainty’s such as those posed by Brexit, Welsh universities have yet again had an increased impact, and the contribution Welsh universities make to the economic fortunes of our nation has continued to grow.


The analysis also found that impact flowed across Wales, with £561m GVA generated and 11, 024 jobs created in areas which do not have a university presence. Analysis of the economic impact of universities in Wales across the whole country shows that all parts of Wales share in the benefits, even those areas which do not host a university.

As internationally renowned institutions, universities also contribute significantly to Welsh trade and export earnings. Through just one of their services offered, that being their international activities, Welsh universities generated over £544m, equivalent to 4.1% of 2016 Welsh export of goods.


Professor Julie Lydon, Chair Universities Wales said:

“The report shows the significant value of universities, which in 2015/16 generated over £5bn of output for Wales, and created almost 50,000 jobs. These aren’t small numbers, and demonstrate the way in which universities further individual and national prosperity, offer opportunities through employment and generate significant impact in their communities as local anchors for regional and community led economic growth.

I’m proud that we can demonstrate that our universities are continuing to work for the whole of Wales. Even those towns and regions which may not have a campus on their doorstep still benefit from the value generated by the sector, with over 21% of all GVA created by universities generated in regions without a university presence.”


Kirsty Williams, Cabinet Secretary for Education, said:OUTPUT BREAKDOWN


“It is important to celebrate the economic, social and cultural impact of our universities. I welcome the opportunity to recognise that they are assets not only to the furthering of knowledge, but are vital investors, employers and leaders at the local, national and international levels.

 This report highlights the vital contribution that our universities make to the economic fortunes of our country. I’m delighted that this report shows that this contribution has continued to grow, and is benefiting communities right across Wales.”


   EXPORT EARNINGS Ian Price, Director, CBI Wales

 “This report demonstrates the significant and wide-reaching economic impact generated by Welsh universities. As businesses    themselves, and through the creation of jobs, generation of expenditure through their activities and the furthering of skills, universities in Wales do much to support the local and national economies, benefiting businesses and communities across Wales.”  


Lead study researcher, Ursula Kelly of Viewforth Consulting said

“This report confirms the pivotal role that higher education plays in the Welsh economy. Thousands of people study at Welsh Universities every year, increasing the skills base of Wales. As well as University research underpinning many business and innovation developments the Universities are important to communities right across Wales generating output and GVA and employment even in areas without a University. University supply chains generate jobs in all parts of the country. “




[1] GVA or ‘Gross Value Added’ is a measure of the value created by the sector- GVA is the industry level measure of GDP(0). GDP(0) Is a production measure of the net change in wealth or prosperity in the economy over the whole year.