M-SParc reveal great jobs but claim there’s a lot of work still to do
M-SParc has revealed the findings of its annual tenant survey,showing that there are excellent careers in the science and technology sector but there are issues to tackle around equalities and Welsh speakers.
M-SParc, a Bangor University owned Science Park, was established to create well paid careers in the region. The good news is that M-SParc is now 84% occupied. With 200 people working in the building, over 50 new careers have been created, with new figures revealing these to be well paid. The average earnings for someone working for a company based at M-SParc is £32,632. This is higher than the average for Anglesey (£27,596), Conwy (£25,464) and Gwynedd (£23,858). The Wales average is £27,820.
Billy Williams is originally from Amlwch and returned to the area after leaving to work in London. Billy founded Cufflink, a technology company based at M-SParc. Billy said:
Since moving to M-SParc we’ve created three new high tech jobs, with two employees being Bangor University graduates, and one employee also having relocated back to the area. We are now looking to recruit again in the coming months, we’ll be recruiting and employing up to 8 new staff members.
The company is going from strength to strength, and this is in part thanks to the amazing ecosystem that we’re a part of here at M-SParc.
However, there’s work to do; out of the 34 companies housed at M-SParc, the highest earners are male. Those who have an increase in wages throughout their careers are also male. This is the symptom of a wider problem. In Wales, the gender pay gap is 14.5%, and in the science and tech sector in the UK, men earn 25% more than women. In Gwynedd, around 16% of women in the workplace work in STEM – although this figure does include those who are in administerial roles, so the true figure is even less.
Additionally, those in the highest paid positions are for the most part not Welsh speakers. Research shows that in Wales, Welsh speakers earn 10% more on average than non-Welsh speakers. The figures at M-SParc show quite the opposite, with Welsh speakers being amongst the lower paid jobs.
Pryderi ap Rhisiart, managing director of M-SParc, said:
We are pleased to see that well paid careers are being created, that was the vision; to see these businesses grow with M-SParc and benefit from Bangor University. However, the below average number of Welsh speakers in the sector and the fact that women earn on average £17,000 less than men is alarming. We need to understand the roles undertaken by women on the Science Park and what’s behind this gender pay gap.
The focus is on supporting companies in the Science and Technology sectors to grow and to create employment. University graduates are already benefitting, there are exciting careers here for young people from North Wales but we need to increase the number of local young people who chose to study STEM subjects.
We already provide STEM resources for children and young people on the ‘Young Dynamos’ section of our website, run a monthly coding club with Technocamps Bangor, and work closely with projects such as STEM Gogledd in order to promote STEM subjects to children. Skills and training and inspiring these young people to choose STEM subjects will be vital going forwards.
As well as science and tech graduates, M-SParc offers opportunities for those in the business sector to assist with marketing, management, and finance. The links with Bangor University are growing stronger, as students are increasingly attending events and taking advantage of what’s going on at M-SParc.
Lowri Owen, B-Enterprising at Bangor University said:
We are working increasingly closely with M-SParc, in order to find placements for graduates, show our students what career opportunities are available for them in the future, and even to house student and graduate start-ups inan office sponsored by Santander Universities, to encourage entrepreneurship in a fantastic and supportive environment.
The results were taken from an annual survey of tenants, and analysed by Economic expert and Bangor Business School, Bangor University lecturer Dr Edward Jones. He noted “The statistics speak for themselves, and it’s important to note that 76% of those working in the building enjoy coming to work and 81% of the respondents feel that they are part of the community. The team at M-SParc have been successfully in creating a strong community spirit and an environment where firms can collaborate and develop, in addition to opportunities for well paid, diverse careers.
Pryderi ap Rhisiart went on to note:
The well paid careers and economic impact isn’t just happening by accident either. Companies here are provided with dedicated business support to see them not only succeed, but thrive, and that is what we are seeing.
What we won’t do is just focus on the positives; there is more work to be done on creating opportunities for the Welsh speaking community, and also for women who want to work in Science and Technology.
We are taking direct action; creating ‘Ambassadors’ who are young, Welsh speaking success-stories to act as role models and advocate for more young people to consider STEM careers, creating a campaign to draw people who’ve left the region back in – bringing they skills they’ve learned with them, and working to increase the amount of Welsh speakers in general at M-SParc. We’ll continue to run our forum for Women at the park as well as Women in Tech and Women in Science events, and we’ll also monitor how many women are in administerial roles and what we can do to progress this.
We are working with partners on this, including Bangor University, STEM Gogledd, the Regional Skills Partnership, and more. I’d like to thank them all for their support, and hope to keep working with others in the region as we tackle this head on. There’s a lot to be done and we’re just getting started, but by taking action and monitoring progress annually we know we can do better.”